Belfast company Arralis puts itself on Nasa's radar
A Belfast company has met with Nasa in a bid to have its technology used in space.
Arralis, which supplies world-leading ultra-fast radar technology, has been named one of the most promising UK space companies.
It is one of nine companies selected by the government's innovation agency, Innovate UK, and UK Trade and Investment, to take part in the Space Mission 2015.
The SMEs went through a competitive application process for the funding to attend the mission, which is designed to introduce UK companies to the US market.
Arralis Design Centre is housed in the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology centre on Queens Island.
Its parent company is based in Limerick.
Co-founder Mike Gleaves is in the USA to promote Arralis and its products.
He said: "We've already had meetings with a couple of US investors interested in expanding their business in space.
"It's good to get our name out there in the US, which is very hard to do when you are a small company based in Belfast.
"This is a great opportunity to talk to these people and find out what technology they're looking for."
It is the latest in a series of high profile boons for Arralis.
It has previously carried out work for the European Space Agency, and earlier this year the firm won a contract to design an antenna for the Ministry of Defence in the UK.
But it is the company's forward-thinking eye on mobile communication that Mr Gleaves believes puts them out in front.
"In the next five to 10 years, people will be able to pick up their information on a smartphone from a satellite, not their local network," he said. "We have the technology to deliver that 2,000 times faster. Our devices then go on to satellites, which relay information between themselves and the ground. "There isn't a lot of competition in that field, that's why we're ahead."
The Space Mission 2015 takes companies to Utah, LA, and San Francisco, where they will also meet with aerospace company Lockheed Martin, as well as Virgin Galactic. With money vital in space missions, all of the companies on the Mission have developed unique business models and approaches which dramatically lowers the cost of space technology, research and analysis.
Mr Gleaves hopes taking part in the event will be beneficial for Arralis.
He said: "I hope that we secure relationships so we can go forward to supply the US people with some of our technology, that you just can't get there.
"We are in a strong position in that regard."
Belfast company Arralis puts itself firmly on Nasa's radar