Tech Corner
Fibrepulse is awarded contract with European Space Agency
By M
Nov 25, 2004, 11:47

From the Arctic to outer space could be the theme for this article. The MD of Fibrepulse, Rory Casey, earlier this year sailed through the pack ice of the North East Passage as a crew member of the Northabout expedition which attempted a westward circumnavigation of the North Pole. Now he is involved in an R&D contract aimed at perfecting new technologies for use in the even harsher environment of outer space.

From polar ice to the harsh environment of outer space!

From polar ice to the harsh environment of outer space!

Fibrepulse Limited, Castlebar, Co Mayo, has won a two-year research & development contract with the prestigious European Space Agency. The purpose of the project is to assess the feasibility of using fibre optic technology on satellites. Fibre Optics technologies allow for the transmission of high data rates using light signals. The current satellites use copper cables, but fibre optics would bring many advantages, mainly providing faster, more secure communications, as well as being significantly lighter.

Photograph L to R, Anton Linssen, (Head of Science Project Management, European Space Agency), Tony McDonald (ESA Programmes Manager in Enterprise Ireland), Rory Casey, (M.D. of Fibrepulse Limited)

Rory Casey, MD of Fibrepulse Limited says "this is a very important step for us. With the recent downturn in the world-wide telecoms sector, Fibrepulse has had to refocus its recognised technical capabilities on other markets."

Tony McDonald (ESA Programmes Manager in Enterprise Ireland) comments "Fibrepulse is an excellent example of an innovative Irish company bringing leading edge technologies to the Space sector. What is learned on this challenging satellite project may prove very beneficial in a range of other applications. We see very exciting future opportunities for Fibrepulse".

Shane Scott (Technical Director of Fibrepulse) says "there are considerable technical challenges related to this project. The main unknown is radiation. As our cables could be in space for up to 15 years, the effects of radiation on the fibres have to be predicted. Current fibres will go dark from that level of radiation, but we have some radical ideas that may provide a solution."

Fibrepulse Limited was founded in 1998 by Rory Casey and Shane Scott, and is now based in their custom-built headquarters in Castlebar Technology Park, Moneen, Castlebar. Fibrepulse Limited was selected as "Company of the Year" in 1999 by the Mayo County Enterprise Board.

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