ESA and ICEYE collaborate to accelerate space entrepreneurship, commercialisation and sustainable development

At the Global Space Conference on Climate Change (GLOC) 2023 ESA has signed a letter of intent with Finnish company ICEYE OY to empower entrepreneurship and encourage the development of commercially viable and sustainability-minded space solutions. The collaboration falls under the ESA Partnership Initiative for Commercialisation (EPIC) and targets companies supported by ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Brokers and ESA Φ-labNET.

ICEYE delivers unmatched persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on earth. Owning the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar constellation, the company enables objective, data-driven decisions for its customers in sectors such as insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring and finance. ICEYE’s data can be collected day or night, and even through cloud cover.

ICEYE joins the ESA Partnership Initiative for Commercialisation (EPIC) as the sixth partner following the lead of OVHCloud, Airbus, Planet Labs Germany, Sinergise and Euroconsult. EPIC was established in 2022 under ESA Commercialisation Department and aims to connect corporate, academic and institutional partners with ESA supported start-ups. EPIC’s main goal is to further empower entrepreneurship through brokering clear synergetic offers via fit-for-purpose partnerships.

The intended partnership with ESA was signed at the Global Space Conference for Climate Change (GLOC) in Oslo on 23 May 2023 by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions Europe at ICEYE. This signifies the urge and need for sustainably minded space solutions. The partnership is aimed at strengthening the space start-up businesses on their road to scaling-up, enhancing the usage of innovative technologies & data and raising awareness of space-based services for sustainability. The collaboration is focused on fostering the commercial cases of companies that are or have been supported through an ESA BIC, ESA Technology Broker or ESA Φ-labNET activities.

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” said ESA DG Josef Aschbacher.

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.” shared Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions, Europe at ICEYE.

One of the key areas for accelerating entrepreneurship among these ESA-supported start-ups will be their ability to develop their products on the basis of high quality imagery. 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.

Fig.1 – Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions, Europe at ICEYE, and ESA DG Josef Aschbacher.

Fig.2 – Jeffrey Apeldoorn, Head of Government Solutions, Europe at ICEYE, Simonetta Cheli, Director of ESA Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN, and ESA DG Josef Aschbacher.