Ka-ching: Arralis bags €650,000 ESA contract for latest satellite tech

21 Jun 2017

Image: Johan Swanepoel/Shutterstock

Irish spacetech firm Arralis has secured a €650,000 contract with the ESA to enable its latest Leonis Ka band chips to speed up satellites’ communications.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has a good relationship with Ireland from a development perspective. Last September, it opened the country’s first ESA Business Incubation Centre to support up to 30 Irish start-ups developing the latest in space technology for use on Earth.

In addition, it has funded and signed contracts with a number of Irish spacetech companies over the year, including last month’s €1.2m deal with Treemetrics to roll out a tree growth analytics system, including a unique tree sensor device.

Now, Limerick communications technology manufacturer Arralis has announced the signing of a new €650,000 contract with the ESA to bring its Leonis Ka band chips into space, allowing for massive data rate communications speeds for commercial and science missions.

Ka band antennas are 400pc smaller than their Ku band rivals, and are expected to be used in future satellites from the likes of Facebook and SpaceX, due to their ability to dramatically lower communications costs.

According to Arralis, applications of the Leonis Ka chip include 5G telecoms, airborne high-speed Wi-Fi, low-Earth orbit mega-constellation communications, connected vehicles, the internet of things and M2M communications.

‘High speed internet for all’

“We are delighted to continue to deliver the world’s leading satellite communication products to ESA and the global industry,” said Arralis CEO Barry Lunn.

“This chipset represents ‘new space’, making space technology that will deliver real benefits back on Earth by providing high-speed internet for all.”

In January of last year, Arralis signed a €400,000 contract with the ESA to continue its delivery of a series of 94GHz subsystems, capable of being used in the harsh environment of space.

One of its biggest deals with the ESA, however, was cemented in 2015 when the company secured a number of international contracts in the UK, South Korea, Russia and China for its radar technology, the latter of which amounted to €1.45m.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic