Cork’s Varadis inks deal with the European Space Agency

8th April 2021

Varadis, a Cork start-up building technology for satellites, has snagged a €600,000 contract with the European Space Agency.

The start-up’s radiation detection technology will be used on ESA satellites in space and has already been used by the International Space Station as well as clients in the private sector.

Varadis was born out of the Tyndall National Institute in Cork where it developed its radiation detection sensors that can detect and measure absorbed doses of ionising radiation such as protons, and x-rays. It is built with technology called Radiation Sensing Field Effect Transistors (RADFETs), which is based on 30 years of research at Tyndall.

The start-up will be designing and manufacturing ‘plug and play’ radiation detection modules for ESA satellites. It is hoping to take a slice of the satellite communications, or SATCOM, industry that’s tipped to be worth $40bn by 2026.

Brad Wrigley, chief executive of Varadis, said its modules are cost effective deployments as they reduce costs like R&D spending in-house while maintaining an expansive range for detection.

“By using the Varadis module configuration with defined electronic interfaces we minimise the risk on the integrity of customer’s existing system designs. Space on satellite circuitry boards is often at a premium for manufacturers,” Wrigley said.

Varadis has also been supported by the ESA Business Incubation Centre, a network of research groups and programmes that support start-ups in the field, and Enterprise Ireland.

“In addition to the clear technology advancements they will gain under this ESA contract, Varadis have increased their head count and plan further hires over the next year,” Tom Kelly, divisional manager of Enterprise Ireland, added.

Varadis’ contract is the latest link between the ESA and Irish start-ups and research bodies. Several start-ups are working with the space agency through its various programmes. Most recently, NovaUCD joined the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland consortium, which supports early-stage start-ups entering the space industry.

Source: Silicon Republic