The sky’s no limit as Thales brings 150 engineering jobs to Belfast
French engineering company, Thales, will create 150 new jobs in Belfast to support the manufacturing of advanced electric engines to power space satellites.
A new manufacturing facility will open in Northern Ireland, with the possibility to add another 200 positions on top of the 150 just announced in the coming years.
Since acquiring Shorts Missiles Systems in 2001, the aerospace engineering firm has been one of Belfatst’s biggest employers, with over 500 staff.
Famed astronaut Tim Peake is set to open Thales’ new facility which comes as the company issues its backing to UK manufacturing post-Brexit. Its existing Belfast site makes missiles for the international aerospace and defence business and Thales will retrain weapons engineers to work on these new engines.
Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales UK, says: “Britain is an attractive place for us to invest in our space business – there is a lot of encouragement from the Government to invest in the industry.”
Thales will create next generation electric engines, forgoing the need for chemical fuels, for satellites orbiting Earth. The engines will collect energy from a satellite’s solar panels, and will use only one fifth of the amount of fuel as chemical rockets. These engines will require the very highest skilled workers to manufacture effectively, the company said.
Chavez adds: “These are not experimental designs – they are already in use – and are likely to bring radical change to satellites as they enter wider use. Using less fuel means satellites can have much longer service lives: about half of the mass of most geostationary satellites is fuel so the advantages are clear.”