Ariane 6

Dublin company provides video and GNSS telemetry system for Ariane 6 rocket

Tonight's launch mission the culmination of a project with contributors from 13 countries
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Ariane 6. Image: European Space Agency

9 July 2024

The ESA’s Ariane 6 rocket is scheduled to take off this evening at some time between 7 and 11pm. The mission, eight years in the making, will have Irish involvement in the form of Dublin-based Réaltra, who have contributed two state-of-the-art technology systems: the video telemetry system (VIKI), and the GNSS (global navigation satellite system) telemetry system (GEKI).

Ariane 6 is a launch vehicle designed and built by ArianeGroup on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). For the development of Ariane 6, ESA worked with an industrial network across 13 European countries. Building on the success of its predecessors, the Ariane 6 will ensure Europe continues to have secure and autonomous access to space in the future. It’s expected that the Ariane 6 will launch a wide range of space missions over the next decade, including multiple payload missions.

Réaltra’s systems will provide the live HD video telemetry images during all phases of the launcher mission, from six cameras located on-board the Ariane 6. GEKI will leverage advanced satellite navigation technology to ensure precise positioning, velocity, and timing measurements. It is intended to fly as an autonomous experimental system on this first launch of Ariane 6, to validate the GNSS functionality in space at high speeds.

The inaugural Ariane 6 launch is primarily a demonstration flight, however, satellites, deployers and experiments from companies, research institutes, universities, young professionals and space agencies are flying as passengers. The flight will carry multiple cube-sats from companies and organisations, and payloads that will remain attached to the rocket’s upper stage, one of which is Réaltra’s state-of-the-art GNSS telemetry system.

Michael Martin, engineering manager of Réaltra, added: “This achievement marks a major milestone for Réaltra and demonstrates the company’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology for space applications. Since the establishment of Réaltra in 2018, we have built up significant experience and legacy in providing innovative space solutions and we look forward to expanding on these successes.”

Padraig Doolan, national delegate to European Space Agency (ESA), said: “Enterprise Ireland has been proud to support the talented team at Réaltra and we want to extend our congratulations to the entire team, who have worked extremely hard on this project. The Irish space community, through an innovative and agile approach to Research, Development and Innovation, continues to be well-placed to collaborate with European partners and successfully compete in the global space market. The selection of Réaltra equipment for the Ariane 6 is a testament to the calibre of the team, as well as the quality of the space tech solutions provided.”

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