Thursday 21 September 2017

UCD spin-off Parameter Space bags €800,000 contract from European Space Agency

03/02/2015 Parameter Space and European Space Agency
Pictured were Professor Lorraine Hanlon, UCD School of Physics and co-founder, Parameter Space and Dr Sheila McBreen, UCD School of Physics and co-founder Parameter Space. Picture Nick Bradshaw
03/02/2015 Parameter Space and European Space Agency Pictured were Professor Lorraine Hanlon, UCD School of Physics and co-founder, Parameter Space and Dr Sheila McBreen, UCD School of Physics and co-founder Parameter Space. Picture Nick Bradshaw

Ruth Nolan

A UCD spin-off firm - Parameter Space - has bagged an €800,000 contract from the European Space Agency (ESA).

The project will create four new jobs and aims to eventually have a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy while the funding will be used to finance a new three year project that will analyse data from ESA's Gaia satellite.

Parameter Space is a spin-off company from the UCD School of Physics.

It was established in 2014 by astrophysicists Professor Lorraine Hanlon and Dr Sheila McBreen, after a 5-week commercialisation bootcamp in NovaUCD.

"The funds will be used to hire expert software developers, system architects and software designers," said Ms Hanlon. "A large part of the money will be used for travelling, especially to the Space Dynamics group in Madrid."

The €700m mission was launched in late 2013 and so far has made nearly 100 billion measurements using a 1bn pixel camera based on star position and luminosity.

Parameter Space hopes to develop new software for dealing with this data using analysis algorithms provided by the science community, so that the data can be easily accessed and further enhanced.

Both women lead the UCD Space Science and Advanced Materials group and together have over 30-years of experience on space science.

Dr William O'Mullane, Head of Operations Development Division, ESA said: "This contract is part of our continuing attempt to improve our delivery of science, it is a pleasure to find an innovative and capable team to collaborate on this in Dublin.

"This project gives new opportunities to highly-qualified Irish graduates, like Parameter Space's first employee Daniel Vagg, a past student from UCD's new Masters in Space Science and Technology."

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