Realtime Technologies has announced that its Réaltra Space Systems Engineering Division has been awarded a €3.4 million contract from German space company OHB System 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), which 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: “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, 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, 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.”