By Liam De Brùn
A Galway company is going intergalactic having been awarded a contract to manufacture equipment for a new European Space Agency (ESA) satellite.
ÉireComposites, a design, manufacture, and testing company based in Inverin will launch the first Irish-made external equipment into space in 2023.
ÉireComposites’ Chief Commercial Officer Mark McKeigue said equipment will improve space photography.
“The satellite will fly in 2023 from French Guinea. It will orbit the world for five years, taking high-end photography, and will give a good indication of the particle distribution of gases in the outer layers of the earth’s atmosphere. The parts we’re making sit on the back of the optical bench on the satellite, preventing stray light from entering the periscope stopping the images from becoming blurry,” he said.
The company has been manufacturing equipment for various projects since its inception in 1998.
“Our primary business is manufacturing air space parts. We also manufacture parts in other industries such as renewables. We’re quite often involved in first-time projects. We have a subsidiary composites test lab, where we test composite parts for the aviation industry mainly. We’ve also done stuff in the past for formula one,” said Mr McKeigue.
Mr McKeigue said winning the right to design external equipment for the satellite is thanks to the hard work ÉireComposites has been doing for the past decade.
“For the past ten years we’ve worked with the ESA and some other companies around space. Throughout those ten years, we built the heritage to allow us to be in a position to win this business, to compete for this work. It was a competitive process, other people were trying to win this business, we’re delighted that we were able to come out on top of that,” he said.
The hard work for ÉireComposites begins now as they prepare for the 2023 launch. Mr McKeigue is adamant that while the company is growing, their passion for Galway culture remains as strong as ever.
“We did work recently with the European Space Agency that has translated some of their documentation into Irish. We’re trying to get traction on #Galwayforspace,” he said.
Mr McKeigue believes this is the beginning for ÉireComposites saying “it’s one small step, but one big step for this company to get a part flying in space” .
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