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Tracking trains with satellite precision - ESA spin-off applied to for passenger information in Spain

Spanish rail travellers in over 400 stations can know exactly when to expect their train thanks to a new system, adapting space technology developed by Madrid-based Deimos Space.

Since its formation in 2001, Deimos Space, part of Elecnor Deimos, has developed uses for space technologies and techniques acquired by its involvement in space projects.

Taking a cue from how European Space Agency (ESA) controls satellites, Elecnor Deimos has provided a train tracking system based on techniques devised from its involvement in space projects. Exact information is broadcast to travellers.

Deimos used software routines similar to those used for the ESA's Envisat: “This way, we can process lots of data in real time. It’s like a small ground system for the railway system,” said Carlos Fernández de la Peña, Director of Systems and Networks at Deimos.


ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme


ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme technology broker for Spain, Tecnalia, collaborated with Elecnor Deimos, through ProEspacio, the Spanish Association for Space Technologies, to develop ‘spin-off’ opportunities. 

Tecnalia’s Richard Seddon explained, “We help in the search for clients for their often leading-edge and intelligent spin-offs from the technologies and expertise developed for space missions.” 

“Matching these spin-offs with identified needs in non-space industries, in this case, resulted in a successful contact with Adif, the company managing Spain’s railroad infrastructure and rail traffic."



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