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Ariane 6 rocket due to launch with Irish technology and mark new era in Europe’s space programme

Réaltra Space Systems Engineering - Franco-Irish Business Newcomer of the Year award winners 2023 - provided on-board technology systems.

The new European rocket launch vehicle, Ariane 6, is scheduled to launch on Tuesday evening at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

On board will be two state-of-the-art technology systems designed, built and delivered by the Irish space engineering company, Réaltra – it provides its video telemetry system (VIKI), and the global navigation satellite system telemetry system known as GEKI.

The Ariane 6 is a satellite launch vehicle designed and built by ArianeGroup on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) which is working with an industrial network in 13 European countries.

Building on the success of its predecessors, the Ariane 6 aims to ensure Europe continues to have secure and autonomous access to space in the future. It will launch a wide range of space missions over the next decade, including multiple payload missions.


The inaugural Ariane 6 launch is primarily a demonstration flight, however, it aims to launch several satellites, deployers and experiments from space agencies, companies, research institutes and universities.

Réaltra has designed and delivered VIKI, which will provide the live, high-definition video telemetry images during all phases of the launcher mission from six cameras located on-board the Ariane 6. GEKI will help deploy advanced satellite navigation technology to ensure precise positioning, velocity, and timing measurements.

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise Emer Higgins said: “Enterprise Ireland has played an important role in connecting the Irish space industry and research community for participation in European Space Agency Programmes ... We are very proud of Irish company Réaltra for its contribution to this new pioneering European rocket. Working in space demands the highest engineering and manufacturing standards and skills. The inclusion of Réaltra’s technology in the Ariane 6 is a testament to their market-leading expertise, and an inspiration to other Irish companies in the highly specialised space market.”

“This achievement marks a big milestone for Réaltra and demonstrates the company’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions and commercial-off-the-shelf 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” said Réaltra engineering manager Michael Martin.

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, said Padraig Doolan, national delegate to ESA. “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.”

Ariane 6 is the latest model in the Ariane line of rockets – Europe’s own satellite launchers. The first flight of the Ariane 1 rocket took place in 1979. The last version to fly was Ariane 5, which had 112 successful missions out of 117 attempted launches, including the James Webb Space Telescope. It was retired last year to make way for Ariane 6, which has lower expected launch costs. The launch is scheduled for sometime between 7pm to 11pm.



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