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Three years of ESA BIC Portugal

16 companies and 56 new jobs are applying space technology in terrestrial sectors with an export capacity of 40% and an annual return of almost 900 thousand euros in 2016. These are the numbers of three years of existence of Incubation of the European Space Agency in Portugal (ESA BIC Portugal), coordinated by Instituto Pedro Nunes and supporting startups that transfer space technology for terrestrial applications.

In this third year of activity, ESA BIC Portugal announces the entry of five new projects and the graduation of six startups that, with the support of this program, have managed to reach a stage of maturity.

Carlos Cerqueira, IPN, notes that ESA BIC Portugal "demonstrates the maturity of the Portuguese space industry and the ability of Portuguese startups to find new solutions and business for the terrestrial market from space technologies."


Horizontal Cities, Stratio, Tesselo, Fibersail and Theia, which apply technology initially designed for Space in areas such as transport, natural resources, maintenance industry and archeology, are the five new companies joining the others supported.

Horizontal Cities, winner of the Vodafone Big Smart Cities 2015, created the first GPS application for cycling users that allows navigation through flat routes in the city of Lisbon.

Also operating in land transport, Stratio, uses space technology in heavy duty vehicles to predict and anticipate the occurrence of severe wear and tear, allowing timely actions by transport companies and, consequently, a reduction in maintenance costs and and a reduction in the emission of polluting gases. Stratio was one of three startups selected at the 2017 Web Summit as an example of the use of space technology in terrestrial markets.

Tesselo, which has developed a technology aimed at companies that manage terrestrial natural resources, combines satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to provide real-time geospatial information through a system that continuously monitors the state of agricultural crops and forest and forest health. forests.

Another new incubator of ESA BIC is Fibersail that promises to revolutionize the way currently is the prevention and monitoring of fatigue of large structures in the markets of the wind industry and maritime transport. With a fiberoptic measurement and monitoring system that allows you to measure - remotely and with high precision - the shape of any structure, Fibersail can provide information on the behavior of, for example, wind turbines in real environment, allowing builders to create more efficient and secure structures.

Theia is the fifth new company to join the ESA BIC community with a project that allows the remote detection of archeological sites and resources based on satellite imagery, allowing for very large archaeological assessments, quickly and accurately, avoiding delays and cost overruns in large works such as motorways.


The three first years of ESA BIC Portugal also mark the first six graduates: Active Aerogels, Findster, D-Orbit, Space Layer Technologies, Airborne Projects and Eye2map are companies that survived the startup phase and reached maturity with the support of this program.

Active Aerogels, which developed the world's first spray airgel with super-insulation properties, and can be used at temperatures ranging from -250 to 400 degrees, went from the prototyping phase to an industrial scale with mass production capability. Created initially to isolate rockets, Active Aerogels' innovative and unique product is expanding to land-based markets, useful in construction, to replace thermal insulation foams and in the aircraft industry, to end the wear and tear caused by traditional material which covers the planes.

Findster has created, through geolocation technology, a system that allows the user to have absolute control over the location of children, elderly and pets and does not require the payment of monthly fees for their use.

D-Orbit develops Atmosphere Analyzer, an innovative approach to ionosphere sampling, where during the reentry maneuver, the satellite passes through an ionosphere region between 80km and 150km, collecting data and transmitting it to the land. To this day, this region has been little investigated for being too high for stratospheric balloons and too low for satellites.

Space Layer Technologies has developed the SOUL application which, through satellite Earth Observation data, provides alerts on city air quality to patients with respiratory diseases, minimizing the impact of pollution on their lives.

Airbone Projects is developing an unmanned aircraft landing station (UAVs, drones) to switch batteries and solve the problem of the limited time of their flights when they fly, for example, large agricultural or forestry areas. Maintenance of power lines, electronic surveillance and precision agriculture are some of the sectors that benefit from this technology.

Eye2Map is dedicated to the provision of imaging services and geographic information obtained by drone, aircraft or satellite that can be applied, for example, in the measurement of coastal erosion, burning areas, volume of wood, disease detection and pests in plantations and monitoring works of art or monuments.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, and the Deputy Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, attended the 3rd anniversary of ESA BIC Portugal.

At the session, Niels Eldering, who has been involved in ESA's incubation program at European level for 15 years, considered Portugal "one of the most enterprising members" of ESA. "Portuguese entrepreneurs stand out for their persistence, they do not give up."

João Gabriel Silva, Dean of the University of Coimbra, Carlos Brito, Vice-Dean of the University of Porto, Ana Abrunhosa, President of the CCDR and Teresa Mendes, President of the Board of Directors of Instituto Pedro Nunes.

ESA BIC Portugal is a program under the project funded by the 2020 Center, Portugal 2020 and the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund "SIAC ESA BIC".