Irish firm secures deal for next generation of satellites

25 Apr 2017

Artist’s view of the Neosat mission. Image: P Carril/ESA

Europe’s next generation of satellites will have an Irish finish, as Enbio has landed a deal for advanced coating on the devices.

It appears that European Space Agency’s (ESA) desire for Irish businesses to get involved in space endeavours is starting to pay off, with Enbio landing a key partnership for an upcoming mission.

Neosat is the agency’s platform to develop new satellites, planned for delivery into our orbit in 2019. But, given that it’s the ESA, partnerships are needed to get the job done.


A crucial objective for Neosat is to reduce the cost of a satellite in orbit by 30pc, compared with today’s designs, by the end of the decade.

To achieve that, an Irish company has been tasked with lending a hand.

Enbio has revealed a contract – worth €650,000 – to develop advanced surface coatings for Neosat, utilising the company’s interesting technology to change how metals are protected.

This new technology, called CoBlast, allows metals to be coated in a single step, with high-performance primers and coatings for demanding environments.


The Neosat mission is part of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme (ARTES).

With teams in Clonmel and Dublin, Enbio’s growth has been aided, in part, by governmental efforts, with Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation name-checked as key supporters.

“This is an example of how ESA’s ARTES programme helps European and Canadian industry to stay innovative in a very competitive environment,” said John O’Donoghue, CEO of Enbio.

Andreas Mauroschat, Neosat’s project manager, added: “It enables SMEs and large satellite integrators to collaborate so that a technology matches the specific needs of telecom satellite applications.

“Satellite communications account for two-thirds of the overall space industry revenue.”

Irish touch

While Ireland might be one of the smallest members of the ESA community, it has managed to surpass expectations on a number of occasions by providing valuable technology for projects such as the International Space Station.

Last year, things were raised up a notch, with the next generation of Irish space start-ups being offered the chance to take their concepts from the stratosphere and into outer space with the opening of a new ESA Space Solutions Centre in Cork.

Based in Tyndall National Institute on the campus of University College Cork, the centre is jointly financed by the ESA and Enterprise Ireland, funding the best and brightest space concepts in the country.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic