An Taoiseach (Prime minister), Enda Kenny, TD is today visiting Cork based space services provider, National Space Centre (Ltd) in Midleton, to officially open Ireland’s first and only Earth Observation ground station, commissioned by Canadian based company, exactEarth.
exactEarth is headquartered in Ontario, Canada and is a leading organisation in the field of space-based AIS (Automatic Identification System) vessel tracking and monitoring systems.
The new ground station, completed in April 2013, comprises a 3.7m fast tracking antenna inside a protective fibre-glass radome, linked by cable to an on-site preliminary data processing centre. The antenna which can move at 15 degrees per second, downloads data from exactEarth’s satellites up to 6 times a day. ExactEarth’s network records every point of the planet during a 12 hour period, and data gathered is used to improve freight management efficiency, maritime policing and environmental protection globally.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD welcomed exactEarth’s decision to locate in Ireland, and unveiled a plaque to officially open the new ground station. Mr Kenny said “Ireland is a maritime nation with a key location on the northwest frontier of Europe. We have an important role to play in the increasingly significant area of maritime surveillance. The location of a global player such as exactEarth is a positive move and a first step into this domain, reflecting increased international confidence in Ireland as a location and its ability to deliver. Critically, it provides an opportunity to capitalise on this advantage in the creation of high tech and sustainable jobs in the maritime environment.”
Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO National Space Centre (Ltd) thanked the Taoiseach and said “I am delighted that we were able to bring exactEarth to Ireland and to Elfordstown. It is our small contribution to Government strategy to harness our ocean wealth and develop our full maritime potential as a nation.”
Phillip Miller, VP of Engineering and Operations at exactEarth said “exactEarth is very pleased with the introduction of the Elfordstown ground station for our growing constellation of Automatic Identification System (AIS) detection satellites. The addition of this ground station helps us improve the overall performance of our world leading system providing the best detection of maritime vessels around Ireland, Europe and the world.”
National Space Centre, an Enterprise Ireland backed HPSU Company, provides carrier grade teleport facilities from Elfordstown Earthstation in partnership with broadcast corporations, educational institutions and independent companies.