News & Events

Minister Halligan launches Ireland’s first National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025

Strategy sets out Ireland’s vision for space enterprise - to develop and support an economically sustainable and expanding space-active industry, delivering quality jobs for the economy of tomorrow

Today at the DCU Alpha Campus in Glasnevin, the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, launched Ireland’s first National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025.

The national strategy will provide strategic support to Ireland’s expanding space-active industry and research institutes, which work across a range of technological domains and develop technology with both space and non-space applications.

Launching the strategy, Minister Halligan said, “I am very proud to be launching Ireland’s first ever Space Strategy for Enterprise. I have personally championed this initiative because I see the great potential for Ireland to build a thriving space sector based on our technological strengths.”

“Space-active Irish companies have become increasingly successful within European Space Agency and EU programmes in recent years. As the space economy continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, there is a growing opportunity for Irish companies to participate. This strategy puts into place a framework for a greater Irish involvement, and enhanced success at a global level.”

The development of this strategy is extremely timely as the international space sector is currently undergoing a rapid evolution. According to the European Investment Bank (2019), the international space sector has grown by an average of 6.7% per annum between 2005 and 2017, almost twice the 3.5 % average yearly growth of the global economy.

In parallel, the capabilities of space-active enterprises in Ireland have progressed significantly in recent years, with the number of companies engaged in contract work with the European Space Agency (ESA) having grown from 35 in 2008 to 67 in 2018. The development of Ireland’s space-active industry is supported by Ireland’s membership to international organisations including the ESA, the European Union space programmes and EUMETSAT.

Minister Halligan added, “The national space strategy also significantly supports the aims of the Future Jobs Ireland framework, embracing innovation and technological change and supporting the development of quality jobs that will be resilient into the future.”

Minister Halligan and Professor Brian MacCraith in DCU at the launch of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise

“The skills and capabilities necessary to develop space technology are often transferable between the space sector and other high value sectors such as automotive, environmental protection, agriculture, maritime and human medicine. Irish enterprise is already competitive across a range of technological domains related to these sectors, including software development, manufacturing, photonics, engineering, nano-materials, data analytics and communications technologies, and is ideally placed to seize the new opportunities within the evolving space market and moreover, to transfer their skills and technology between the space and non-space markets.”

The strategy sets out six ambitious goals to achieve by 2025:
• double the space related revenue and employment in space-active Irish companies;
• support 100 companies to benefit from ESA engagement;
• double the value of contracts won through the EU Horizon programmes in space-related activities;
• increase industry, public and international awareness of space and Ireland’s activities in space;
• develop and attracting talent for space-active and related industries; and
• develop a sustainable Earth Observation services sector based on advanced data analytics capability.

The delivery of these goals is underpinned by a target to increase Ireland’s overall public and private investment through ESA. The strategy aims to increase public and private investment in ESA by 50% by 2025, which would see investment grow to an annual level of €32m.

Minister Halligan with Professor Brian MacCraith, President, DCU and Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager, Enterprise Ireland

Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager Innovation and Competitiveness at Enterprise Ireland said “Last year, 27 companies in Ireland secured European Space Agency contracts valued at €19.3m. Irish companies are at the leading edge of innovation and technological developments within the Space sector in a range of technology areas including development of the next-generation satellites and spacecraft, technologies for human spaceflight, as well as technologies to optimise the use of Earth observation, telecommunications and navigations satellites.”

The National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025 can be found at: National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019 - 2025


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
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Notes to the Editor

European Investment Bank (2019) reference:

"The future of the European space sector" EIB 2019

Space Strategy for Enterprise

The strategy is built on five pillars comprised of Investment, Strengths and Opportunities, Governance, Talent and International Engagement, and has set down nineteen key actions to achieve the vision and goals of the strategy. Principle actions include:

• Mobilisation of the Project Ireland ‘Space Technologies Programme’ to develop space focused initiatives, including funding mechanisms, delivered through DBEI Agency Programmes;
• Establishment of a Space Data Hub to provide access to data from European and other third-party sources to support the development of data analytics skills; and
• The development of a Space Enterprise Coordination Group, comprised of Government bodies, to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits Ireland’s investment in space can offer for public service organisations.

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation, comprised of 22 Member States. ESA works to coordinate the financial and intellectual resources of its Member States in order to undertake programmes and activities beyond the capabilities of any single European country. ESA’s mission is to shape the development of Europe’s Space capability and ensure that investment in Space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Investment into ESA works on the basis or geographical return. Essentially, the amount Ireland invests in ESA Irish companies will receive back in contracts. Ireland joined ESA in 1975.

For more information on the ESA, visit:

The European Union

The Copernicus programme is the European Union’s earth observation programme, coordinated by the European Commission. The development of the observation infrastructure is performed under the aegis of the European Space Agency for the Space component and of the European Environment Agency and the Member States for the in-situ component. Copernicus has been specifically designed to meet user requirements. Through satellite and in situ observations, the services deliver near-real-time data on a global level which can also be used for local and regional needs, to help better understand the planet and sustainably manage the environment. Ireland recently signed an agreement with ESA, providing access to near-real time earth observation data.

For more information on Copernicus, visit:

The Galileo Programme is also coordinated and managed by the European Commission. It is the European Union’s Global Satellite Navigation System. Galileo provides accurate positioning and timing information. It is a programme under civilian control and its data can be used for a broad range of applications. Currently, data is derived from a constellation of 18 satellites.

For more information on Galileo, visit:


EUMETSAT is a global operational satellite agency which gathers accurate and reliable satellite data on weather, climate and the environment and deliver it to Member States, to international partners, and to world-wide.

For more information on EUMETSAT, visit:

DCU Alpha

DCU Alpha is the university’s commercial innovation campus that promotes the growth of research-intensive businesses. 35 companies currently operate across the campus, developing products in connected health, clean energy and IoT technology. DCU supports and engages with a number of space-active companies through the DCU Alpha Campus, ESA Makerspace activity and Invent centre. Makerspace is funded through Ireland’s membership to the European Space Agency and focuses on the development of innovative Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for satellite communications.

For more information on DCU Alpha, visit:

Company Exhibitors at the Launch of the National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025

About Techworks Marine

Founded in 2002, we are leading experts in the provision of real-time marine monitoring data networks. We offer marine data solutions to a broad range of clients from port and harbours and coastal engineering to marine renewables and aquaculture.

Core to our Robust, Reliable and Secure Marine Data Systems are our TMBB command and control system and CoastEye, our web-based data portal. These allow you to manage your marine assets remotely, transmitting the data for you to visualise and analyse. Many different data streams can be integrated to CoastEye, including Earth Observation and model data. Our consistent delivery of world-class solutions over the last 15 years make us the go-to providers for metocean surveys, whether stand-alone or as part of a network.

We have been developing our Earth Observation division since 2009, developing the service chain for the provision of operational Satellite data service to our existing and new client base. TechWorks Marine is part of the ESA Sentinel 3 validation team and has been working on Coastal Calibration/Validation of Sentinel 3 for ESA, enabling us to offer our client with locally validated EO data products to better manage their marine operations.

About Réaltra Space Systems Engineering (A Division of Realtime Technologies Ltd.)

Réaltra Space Systems Engineering (a Division of Realtime Technologies Ltd.), ( was established in 2018 (Réaltra is the Irish word for “Galaxy”) to focus on creating innovative low-cost electronic systems for the growing global space market, targeting the commercial “NewSpace” market, with a focus on the expanding global micro-launchers and small satellite sectors. Realtime Technologies Ltd. ( is an Irish-owned company, employing over 50 people, that was founded by Paddy White in 1996 as a supplier of printed circuit board assemblies to the global aerospace, IT, automotive and medical device sectors.

Réaltra was established by Paddy White (CEO), Diarmuid Corry (CTO) and Danny Gleeson (CCO), each with long experience in the space sector. The company is a member of the Irish Space Industry Group ( and the Space Industry Skillnet (

About mBryonics

A vertically integrated and quickly scaling laser communications company, mBryonics Ltd. specialises in the design, engineering, manufacture, installation and operation of satellite optical transport network (OTN) backbone infrastructure and associated photonics technology solutions for Enterprise, Cloud, Government, Defence and Network Service Providers. The company is developing the first end-to-end architecture on the market for beyond-terabit satellite wireless OTN systems for both the space, airborne and ground segments: satellite payloads, landing stations, user terminals, ground network and convergence with terrestrial networks. Our integrated hardware and flexible networking platform solutions provide our customers with 5G+ end-to-end wireless backbone infrastructure solutions for emerging satellite broadband networks and next generation terrestrial wireless network infrastructure, enabling seamless convergence of space, wireless, ultra-secure quantum and optical 5G metro-haul networks. mBryonics is making preparations to roll out a global satellite optical ground network infrastructure as-aservice to provide ultra-secure and wholesale 5G backbone gateway service solutions for satellite telecom and datacom service providers.

This open access service will create a wireless secure high-speed optical bridge between Satellite Systems and the terrestrial 5G eco-system, enabling our carrier customers to deliver ubiquitous world class bandwidth and secure, low-cost data services to their customers anywhere in the world.

About Maker Space

The goal of the programme was to engage SMEs and newcomer organisations in space-related technical challenges focussed on using IoT and M2M technology over satellite. The Maker Space aimed to develop “light” non-bureaucratic activities to facilitate newcomer/SME engagement in space-related technology. The programme was designed to deliver proof of concept demonstrations and technology feasibility reports to challenges developed and presented by ESA and DCU.

A project budget of €500K was allocated to DCU under the ARTES AT programme for sub-activity funding and programme management. Successful applicant companies received up to €30K funding per project with 10 projects funded through DCU, with each project lasting between 4 and 5 months. Office, lab space and test environments were provided to participants who retained IP ownership on developed technology with licence usage to DCU and ESA. This programme was the inaugural ESA “Maker” programme with DCU as the awarded contractor providing the Maker Space management and development fund disbursement. DCU performed a similar role to ESA in normal ITT role with the implementing entities signing contracts with DCU rather than with ESA. Mindseed Limited, a Dublin-based technology consultancy company bid for the tender and ran the programme on behalf of DCU Invent.

The inaugural Maker Space was much more successful than originally anticipated, particularly with regards to new-comer engagement with ESA. The programme succeeded in enabling up to six further engagements out of eight implementing companies. The programmes showed how previously new satcom and space related opportunities can be developed by linking ESA with space technology consultancy companies such as Mindseed and how these links can deliver beneficial industrial and research outcomes through organisations such as DCU Alpha and DCU Invent.

About Verifish

Verifish specialises in implementing sustainability and food safety initiatives in the seafood industry. The company has benefited greatly from working with The European Space Agency (ESA) and the support of Enterprise Ireland. Verifish successfully completed a contract focussed on wild capture fisheries in 2017 and is currently mid-way through a project for the aquaculture industry. The AquaEye project, which includes the development of hardware and software, is being progressed by Verifish under contract for ESA at present.