Irish company Realtime Technologies awarded €3.4m contract by German space company OHB System AG
22nd January 2019
Realtime Technologies Ltd. today announced that its Réaltra Space Systems Engineering Division has been awarded a €3.4M contract from German space company OHB System AG to design, develop and deliver the PayLoad Interface Unit (PLIU) for the European Space Agency (ESA) PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission that will be launched in 2026.
The PayLoad Interface Unit (PLIU), that will be designed and built by the team at Réaltra and Realtime in Dublin, will be the largest space electronics hardware contribution and the largest ever single contract awarded to an Irish company for an ESA Science mission.
The Réaltra division of Realtime Technologies Ltd. was pre-selected by OHB System AG, the German company that will integrate, test and deliver the PLATO spacecraft to ESA, to join their industrial team for the PLATO mission, based on the capabilities and skills of the people working in Réaltra and Realtime. Working in space demands the highest engineering and manufacturing standards and the challenge of providing space-qualified electronic systems for such a prestigious scientific mission will not be easily met. The PLIU developed in Réaltra will provide the thermal control system for the telescopes on the PLATO spacecraft to help underpin the mission’s objective of understanding how our Universe was formed, and whether life exists outside of our own solar system. Furthermore, the contract will support an increase in high-quality employment in design, engineering and manufacturing roles here in north Dublin and in the supply chain companies located around Ireland.
John Halligan TD, Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, who announced the contract award, said “I am delighted to be here today to announce the signing of this significant contract between OHB System AG and Réaltra to provide the PayLoad Interface Unit for ESA’s PLATO mission. The awarding of this contract is a significant achievement for Réaltra and demonstrates how Irish space companies can succeed in the delivery of cutting-edge space technologies. The world-class activities in Réaltra are building the reputation of Ireland’s space technology sector in the global marketplace and creating high-value jobs in Irish companies in line with the Irish Government’s strategy for growing the space sector. I wish Réaltra and Realtime every success in the continued growth of its space activities.”
Dr Bryan Rodgers of Enterprise Ireland, the State agency which provides assistance to Irish companies engaging in space technology developments with ESA, said “Réaltra’s success reflects the current high level of technical innovation in Irish industry, which is helping to build capability and capacity in the space sector here. I wish Réaltra every success in its goal to become a leading provider of electronic systems for the growing commercial “NewSpace” market, in particular for low-cost launch vehicle and satellite constellations.”
Paddy White, CEO, Realtime Technologies Ltd., said “We are very proud that our Réaltra division in Realtime Technologies has been selected by OHB to join their industrial team for the delivery of the historic PLATO mission spacecraft to ESA. Our selection for a critical role in the PLATO space mission by OHB is a testament to the hard work, deep experience and high standards displayed by our staff.”
Andrea Sacchetti, PLATO spacecraft manager at OHB System AG, said “We entrusted Réaltra with the design and development of an equipment that plays a fundamental role in the spacecraft power distribution system. We did so after careful evaluation of their capabilities and the quality of the technical solution they proposed. We look forward to a successful cooperation.”
About Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, A Division of Realtime Technologies Ltd
Realtime Technologies Ltd. (www.realtime.ie) is an Irish-owned company, employing over 50 people, that was founded by Paddy White in 1996 as a supplier of printed circuit board assemblies to the global IT, aerospace, automotive and medical device sectors. Réaltra Space Systems Engineering (www.realtra.space) was established in 2018 to focus specifically on the growing global space market for high-quality and high-reliability electronic systems, targeting the commercial “NewSpace” market, with a focus on the burgeoning global micro-launchers and small satellite sectors.
Réaltra already employs 10 people ranging from staff with significant space heritage to recent graduates of UCD’s Masters in Space Science & Technology. The company plans to employ more than 20 highly skilled people over the next few years.
Réaltra is the Irish word for “galaxy”, which is appropriate in the context of the company’s vision of creating innovative low-cost electronic systems for space applications. The Réaltra division was formed in January 2018 by Paddy White (CEO), Diarmuid Corry (CTO) and Danny Gleeson (CCO), each with long experience in the space sector. Realtime Technologies is a member of the Irish Space Industry Group (www.irishspaceindustrygroup.com) and a founder member of the Space Industry Skillnet (www.spaceskills.net)
About OHB System AG
OHB System AG (www.ohb-system.de) is one of Europe's leading space companies and is part of the listed OHB SE, where 2,500 specialists and systems engineers work on central European space programs. With sites in Bremen and Oberpfaffenhofen and almost 40 years of experience, OHB System AG can supply satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications, science and space exploration as well as systems for human space flight, aerial reconnaissance and process control technology.
About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
ESA is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.
ESA’s job is to draw up the European space programme and carry it through. ESA's programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and services, and to promote European industries.
PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) is the third medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme (http://sci.esa.int/plato/). Its objective is to find and study a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars. PLATO has also been designed to investigate seismic activity in stars, enabling the precise characterisation of the planet host star, including its age.
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