Guildford, 18 September 2017 – Airbus Defence and Space in partnership with Digital Catapult NI, Invest Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Space Office launches a new space challenge to encourage Northern Ireland small and medium-sized enterprises and research institutions to generate new business opportunities using satellite imagery. The development of these new applications can range e.g. from fishing and farming to urban planning and traffic management, and should contribute to a sustainable society. The winner will be allowed to secure satellite imagery worth €20,000 from Airbus-owned or operated Earth observation satellite systems.
This initiative aligns to the Northern Ireland Space Sector Strategy, launched in October 2016 which set a vision to develop Northern Ireland as a globally recognised region for space sector innovation and creativity. Thus it perfectly fits with the Airbus’ strategy to extend its digital ecosystem through programs like the “Global Earth Observation Challenge” launched in May 2017.
“As leading Space Company, we have an essential role to play in the promotion of satellite benefits to non-space communities to highlight how we can provide support to current societal challenges and uncover viable business opportunities for SMEs” said François Lombard, Head of the Intelligence Business Cluster at Airbus Defence and Space.
Welcoming the initiative, Bill Montgomery, Invest NI’s Director of Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering said: “Airbus’ space challenge offers many different types of business the opportunity to scope out growth areas for their business using data from satellites. The UK Space Agency projects the global space related market to be worth €440bn by 2030 and Invest NI is working to help ensure Northern Ireland companies, academia and those with related interests in the Space Sector share in the growth opportunities.”
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of € 67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, and is one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.