Realtime Technologies wins satellite development contract

ESA's launch vehicle Ariane (Image: Stockfresh)

PayLoad Interface Unit to be designed, developed and delivered for OHB System AG



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24 January 2019 | 0

The German space company OHB System AG has awarded a contract to Realtime Technologies Ltd’s Réaltra Space Systems Engineering Division to design, develop and deliver the PayLoad Interface Unit (PLIU) for the Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) mission for the European Space Agency (ESA).

The deal worth €3.4 million will see the PLIU launched aboard PLATO in 2026. It is thought to be the largest space electronics hardware contribution and the largest ever single contract awarded to an Irish company for an ESA Science mission.

The PLIU will provide the thermal control system for the telescopes on the PLATO spacecraft to help underpin the mission’s objective of understanding how the universe was formed, and whether life exists outside of our own solar system.

The Réaltra division of Realtime Technologies Ltd was pre-selected by OHB System AG, who will integrate, test and deliver the PLATO spacecraft to ESA, to join its industrial team for the mission, based on the capabilities and skills of the people working in Réaltra and Realtime.

The contract will support an increase in high-quality employment in design, engineering and manufacturing roles in north Dublin and in the supply chain companies located around Ireland.

Speaking at the announcement of the deal Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation John Halligan TD, 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.”

“We entrusted Réaltra with the design and development of an equipment that plays a fundamental role in the spacecraft power distribution system,” said Andrea Sacchetti, PLATO spacecraft manager, OHB System AG. “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.”

“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,” said Paddy White, CEO, Realtime Technologies Ltd. “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.”

Realtime Technologies Ltd is an Irish-owned company, employing more than 50 people, founded by CEO 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 ( 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.


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