ICEYE Joins ESA’s EPIC To Increase Space Entrepreneurship

28th May 2023
ICEYE Joins ESA’s EPIC To Increase Space Entrepreneurship

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Finland’s ICEYE have recently partnered to accelerate entrepreneurship within the space sector. ICEYE now joins the team of well established space agencies with the aim to propel ESA’s start-up network, and support them in developing sustainably focused space solutions. ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher and Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions Europe at ICEYE, both signed a letter of intent at the 2023 Global Space Conference on Climate Change (GSCCC).

EPIC: The Pact Between ESA, ICEYE, & Many Others

ICEYE is now the sixth member of the ESA Partnership Initiative for Commercialisation (EPIC), and is joining OVHCloud, Airbus, Planet Labs Germany, Sinergise and Euroconsult on the project. Since it began in 2022, EPIC has been connecting ESA’s start-up ecosystem with corporate, academic and institutional partnerships who will support these young businesses with technology innovation. 

EPIC’s main focus is to nurture the commercialisation of start-up companies who have been supported through an ESA BIC, ESA Technology Broker, or ESA Φ-labNET activity. ESA said in a press release that the initiative will: “empower entrepreneurship and encourage the development of commercially viable and sustainability-minded space solutions.” 

Who Are ICEYE & How Will They Assist Space Start-Ups 

ICEYE are the team behind one of the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar constellations. ICEYE’s constellation is persistently monitoring Earth, and collecting data day and night without being obstructed by cloud coverage. They have tailored their satellite services towards a range of industries including; insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring, and finance. 

ICEYE is now in the position to support ESA’s network of 1450 start-up companies, and impart their experience and broker commercialisation offers to further empower newcomers in the industry. According to ESA: “the collaboration of ICEYE in the EPIC partnership provides these startups with easy access to affordable high-quality SAR imagery, enabling them to develop new and innovative products.” 

A Push for Innovation & Sustainability

ESA and ICEYE executives after signing the EPIC pact as the 2023 Global Space Conference on Climate Change
ESA and ICEYE executives after signing the EPIC pact as the 2023 Global Space Conference on Climate Change: Credit – ESA

As the world moves to a sustainability-first approach, space operations are expected to follow suit to ensure that more sustainable solutions are discovered. However, space flight and space launches are not the most sustainable practices. Therefore, with ESA and ICEYE signing the agreement at GSCCC, both organisations – and the EPIC network – are looking to support sustainable space technology from ESA’s start-up ecosystem. 

Comments From ESA & ICEYE

ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher, said:

Linking the start-ups supported by ESA Business Incubation Centres with companies like ICEYE through concrete offers enhances the commercialisation journey for both sides. Start-ups benefit from exclusive offers and support, and the partner can reach into a start-up ecosystem of more than 1450 companies. I welcome ICEYE as the sixth member of EPIC.

Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions, Europe at ICEYE, added:

We’re thrilled to be joining the EPIC partnership to support and empower the next generation of European space entrepreneurs. ICEYE was founded on the premise of making the impossible possible, with the idea that innovations in space tech can help solve the world’s biggest problems. As part of this partnership, ICEYE will make data from its commercial constellation of radar satellites available to a talented ecosystem of startups on a mission to build commercially viable and sustainability-focused solutions. We look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with this impressive startup community.

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