Intune boosts to light speed with ESA deal

28 Oct 2003

Dublin photonics firm Intune Technologies has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to deploy its laser technology as part of a plan to develop a special atmospheric measurement system for future space vehicles.

Under the contract Intune will develop laser technology for a LIDAR (light detection and ranging based on RADAR principles) system for measurement of water vapour concentration levels in the earth’s upper troposphere and lower atmosphere.

Intune will join forces with the Semiconductor Photonics Research Group at Trinity College, which will contribute applied research to the project.

The Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD, said of the contract win: “The recent successes of Irish companies in securing prestigious contracts from the European Space Agency is evidence of the highest technical standards being achieved by Irish software and electronics companies. The success of Intune and similar high technology, innovative, indigenous Irish companies reflects the continued investment by the Irish Government in science and technology.”

Established in 1999, Intune has developed laser technolologies for the high growth optical networking business. The company, which employs 20 people in Park West, Dublin, raised a major multi-million euro investment in August led by ICC Venture Capital. Intune’s investors also include Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, 3i and a number of private investors.

The CEO of Intune, John Dunne said: “This European Space Agency (ESA) contract win is a significant milestone in Intune’s ongoing development and growth as a high technology company in Ireland. It endorses Intune’s position as a world-class optoelectronic centre of excellence and realises the mission to release the true potential of light as an information asset within the ESA and the aerospace industry. The technology developed will have further applicability across several industries bringing a greater level of growth potential from this opportunity.

“The ESA contract win represents both a commercial success and an exciting technological challenge for Intune. The team has committed to deliver to the ESA the best technological solution on schedule and to specification,” he added.

According to Tony McDonald, programme manager of Space Technologies at Enterprise Ireland, Intune is one of several Irish companies involved in Photonics, the technology of light. “This is an excellent example of an innovative Irish company developing leading edge technology for the European space sector. A growing number of Irish technology companies have developed a key position in the delivery of leading edge technologies to the European Space Agency.

“The ESA contracts give the companies involved, the technical qualification and associated credibility to develop business opportunities in the global aerospace market,” McDonald said.

By John Kennedy