Dublin, December 25th, 2021 – Irish space start-up company Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, today announced that it was responsible for the development of the Independent Video Telemetry Kit (VIKI) that provided the spectacular live on-board video telemetry from the Ariane 5 rocket during the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope earlier today from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Video of the Webb Space Telescope Separation from Ariane 5 on Christmas Day 2021
The Independent Video Telemetry Kit for the Ariane 5 mission that carried Webb into space was designed and built by the team in Réaltra, based in Dublin, who were selected by ArianeGroup, lead industrial Prime Contractor, who are responsible for building the Ariane 5 launcher, to join their industrial team, based on the experience, capabilities and skills of the people working in Réaltra.
Working in space demands the highest engineering and manufacturing standards and skills and the challenges of providing space-qualified electronic systems for the prestigious Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers during the Covid restrictions were met by the team in Réaltra, its manufacturing partner Realtime Technologies Ltd. and other partners throughout Ireland and Europe.
The Independent Video Telemetry Kit developed in Réaltra will also provide the live video telemetry images from cameras located on-board the Ariane 6 launch vehicle during all phases of the new European flagship launcher’s maiden flight in 2022. Furthermore, the contract with ArianeGroup will support an increase in high-quality employment in design, engineering and manufacturing roles here in Dublin and in supply chain companies located around Ireland.
The participation of Réaltra Space Systems Engineering in the James Webb Space Telescope mission is enabled through Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA). Ireland manages its investment in space primarily through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and Enterprise Ireland, which supports and guides Irish industry and research institutes in developing technologies through ESA programmes, and in commercialising these technologies in the worldwide space market.
Minister Damien English, TD., said “It was wonderful to see the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, with images of the spacecraft starting its long journey streamed back to Earth by Irish technology and relayed around the world. I also eagerly anticipate the ground-breaking science that will be enabled by Webb, with Irish scientists at the heart of uncovering the secrets of the formation of our Universe.”
Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, congratulated the Irish companies and scientists involved in the mission, noting that Ireland can be justifiably proud of its world-class scientific and technical capabilities in space science. “Irish companies have consistently shown that they can deliver innovative technologies to the space sector. Webb is the most ambitious space mission for many years, if not decades, and it is fitting that Ireland has played such a prominent role in the Ariane 5 launch, and also in the scientific instruments on the telescope itself.”
Danny Gleeson, CCO, Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, said “We are very proud of everyone in the team in our small Irish company Réaltra who have been selected by ArianeGroup to join their industrial team for the development of the video telemetry kit for the historic launch of Webb on the Ariane 5 rocket. The selection of Réaltra by ArianeGroup is a testament to the hard work, deep experience and high standards displayed by the people in Réaltra and Realtime Technologies.”
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Réaltra (meaning “Galaxy” in Gaelic) is an Irish space start-up, established in 2018 and dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of cost-effective space electronic systems using cutting-edge technologies. Our highly experienced team of space industry experts have a proven track record in combining COTS and traditional approaches for the development of highly reliable solutions to meet the challenges set by our customers in both the traditional and “NewSpace” markets.
Réaltra employs 10 people including staff with significant space heritage to recent graduates of UCD’s MSc 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”, Réaltra was founded in 2018 by Paddy White (CEO), Diarmuid Corry (CTO) and Danny Gleeson (CCO), each with long experience in the space sector.
Réaltra (https://realtra.space) is a member of the Irish Space Industry Group (www.irishspaceindustrygroup.com) and the Space Industry Skillnet (www.spaceskills.net)
About Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate, and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development, and secure employment. Enterprise Ireland co-ordinates Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programmes of the European Space Agency, provides a source of expertise for Irish companies in developing and executing space strategies, as well as being a point of reference for the international space industry when they want to identify relevant sources of space-related expertise within Ireland.
About the European Space Agency (ESA)
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 developing satellite-based technologies & services for industrial growth.
About Ariane 5
Ariane 5 is a European Space Agency (ESA) program, conducted jointly by public institutions and industry with ArianeGroup as industrial lead contractor. Ariane 5 launches are marketed and operated by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, with support from the French space agency CNES (Centre national d’études spatiales).
About the James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is an international project led by NASA with its partners the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Webb is the next great space science observatory following Hubble, designed to answer outstanding questions about the Universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. The James Webb Space Telescope will see farther into our origins: from the formation of stars and planets, to the birth of the first galaxies in the early Universe.