Newry based global technology specialist First Derivatives are taking on the commercial space market and the company  has signed a letter of intent with the European Space Agency (ESA) to foster the development of disruptive applications in the market, based on its Kx technology.

First Derivatives headquarters in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
First Derivatives headquarters in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Under the agreement, Kx and ESA’s Business Applications (formerly Integrated Applications) Programme will work together to assist innovative start-ups seeking to use Kx technology as a platform technology for big data analytics in the commercial space market.

First Derivatives Chief Executive, Brian Conlon commented: “The commercial space market is flourishing, leading to increasing demand for advanced technologies such as Kx to analyse the data generated by the rapid growth in the number of satellites in orbit. Kx’s ultra-high performance capabilities are ideally suited to meet these challenges and we look forward to working with ESA to support the development of commercial space applications.”

ESA is at the forefront of efforts to utilise satellite data to benefit European and global citizens and has identified support for key enabling technologies, such as analytics, as a priority to achieve its goals. Kx’s ability to analyse large volumes of historic and streaming data in real time makes it ideally suited as a platform for use cases ranging across sectors including transport, energy, safety, development and agriculture. The agreement with ESA strengthens Kx’s presence in the space market, following recent announcements such as a collaboration agreement with Airbus and the selection of Kx as its real-time analytics platform by Earth observation specialist 3DEO.

Kx and ESA have had preliminary discussions over multiple opportunities to work together, and with third parties, to address specific data challenges. Over the coming months Kx and ESA Business Applications will foster the development of innovative applications based on Kx and seek to raise awareness of Kx technology within the commercial space market. Kx and ESA will also discuss opportunities to collaborate on Earth Observation analytics, where ESA provides multiple applications including disaster management to alert first responders on floods, major fires and natural disasters such as hurricanes.