Croatian space industry players eye European, U.S. export prospects

by

WARSAW, Poland — Last February, Croatia’s government signed a cooperation agreement with the European Space Agency. Croatian industry players hope the agreement could pave the way for a closer cooperation with their European counterparts and generate foreign orders.

Credit: Amphinicy Technologies
Mirta Medanic, a program manager at Amphinicy Technologies. Credit: Amphinicy Technologies

Zagreb-based satellite software developer Amphinicy Technologies believes the agreement will facilitate the foreign expansion of Croatia’s space sector in cooperation with its European partners.

“The cooperation agreement with ESA could bring benefits and business opportunities to successful Croatian companies. The Croatian space industry is at an [early development stage]. This cooperation agreement … is the first step [for Croatia toward] becoming a full ESA member, and Amphinicy has been supporting this process from the start,” Mirta Medanic, a program manager at Amphinicy Technologies, tells SpaceNews.

Focused on the satellite industry, the company is a provider of tailor-made software solutions and software support for the satellite and space industry. Over the past 20 years, Amphinicy Technologies has delivered more than 100 projects to various customers. These include international space and humanitarian agencies, satellite operators and global satellite service providers, teleports and space mission operation centers, as well as satellite equipment manufacturers, says Mihaela Pavicic, the head of office and PR coordinator at Amphinicy Technologies.

The Croatian company’s three main products are Blink, its satellite data acquisition system; Monica, a monitor-and-control system built specifically for the satellite industry; and SatScout, a utility that facilitates the setting up of satellite terminals.

Croatia to develop national space strategy

Medanic says in the first five-year period, Croatia will be able to exchange knowledge with its European partners, create a national space strategy, and establish the necessary infrastructure in anticipation of its full ESA membership.

“During this time, there is no membership fee. In the second five-year period, the membership fee is fixed at €1 million, and we can access some of the ESA projects, but not all of them, as part of the Plan for European Cooperation States. After that, there will be a third stage, or full membership, when we will pay the membership according to our [gross domestic product], and we [will be able to] compete for ESA’s programs on equal basis with other countries,” Medanic said.

Amphinicy Technologies says it has been working with several large U.S.-based clients. The company’s representatives also recently traveled to NASA offices to present the capacities of their products.

Funds to boost international presence

“We have visited NASA facilities in Maryland. We believe our Blink product could be beneficial to their Earth observation missions and are exploring opportunities to cooperate,” says Irena Kos, a senior software engineer and product manager at Amphinicy Technologies. “In March 2018, Amphinicy received a grant from the European Structural and Investment Fund for Internationalization for the years 2018 and 2019.”

The first activity under this project was the company’s participation in the Satellite Exhibition and Conference in Washington, D.C., where Amphinicy presented its portfolio to satellite and space industry players with the goal to further strengthen visibility and expand their customer base, according to Kos.

Amphinicy Technologies is operated by 46 employees at two locations, Croatia’s capital Zagreb, where the company has its headquarters, and Luxembourg. Owing to the latter location, the firm says it is already taking part in ESA tenders.