Three Irish companies have won contracts worth hundreds of thousands of euro from the European Space Agency. 

The announcement was made as the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, visited the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands as part of an Enterprise Ireland trade visit. 

The aim of the trip is to increase the opportunities for Irish businesses operating in the space sector. 

Among the winning contractors is Dublin and Clonmel based Enbio. It has secured a project worth €650,000 to develop advanced surface coatings for the next generation of European telecom satellites, called Neosat. 

Dublin firm Innalabs also won a contract worth €980,000 to produce a new type of gyroscope-based system for satellite control systems that will be used in a range of future missions and in commercial space projects. 

And Pilotphotonics, a DCU start-up firm supported by Enterprise Ireland, also secured a €335,000 contract for the production of laser communications sub-systems for use in advanced communication satellites. 

Almost 60 Irish companies are active in the space sector and eleven of them are taking part in the trade mission.

The European satellite communications market is a particular target of the Irish industry.