Irish tech firm to provide software for future lunar space station – The Irish Times
An Irish company will provide one of the software cornerstones for a moon-orbiting space station that Nasa and the European Space Agency hope to set up after the recent successful launch of Nasa’s Artemis rocket.
Dublin-based Skytek has won a contract from the agency to provide flight assistance software for the Gateway space station. This orbiting platform is not intended to be constantly manned, like the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Instead, it will be a kind of lunar Airbnb, with crews working for three or four months in lunar orbit, assisting manned missions on the surface and possibly providing support for missions to Mars.
Dr. Sarah Bourke, Managing Director of Skytek, said: “The awarding of this contract is a testament to the skill and excellence of our technical team. Working in the space sector gave us the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of science and technology. We have taken this knowledge and successfully transferred it to other industries, including insurance and security. »
Skytek’s contribution to Gateway will be a software system to assist astronauts in day-to-day station operations, drawing on the wealth of knowledge accumulated while operating the International Space Station.
Skytek’s international procedural visualization technology is already in orbit on the space station and will form the basis of the Gateway project. Skytek says it will “provide mobile web applications to support daily maintenance and support scientific activities [as well as] critical decision support software to help the astronaut undertake complex and time-sensitive tasks”.
Paul Kiernan, CTO of Skytek, said, “The technology Skytek will develop for Gateway will include the latest augmented reality-based applications supporting the complex operations astronauts will need to perform on board Gateway.
Software development will take place at Skytek’s three main sites in Dublin, Poland and London.
Dr Rüdiger Seine, Head of Astronaut Training at ESA, said: “We are awarding Skytek the contract for the Flight Data File Software Suite for Lunar Gateway after an open tender. Skytek has decades of experience and a proven track record in developing software for the International Space Station.
“We look forward to working with Skytek as we return astronauts to the Moon and beyond. The software ground components will also help make the ISS [international space station] more efficient operations.
On November 15, NASA’s Artemis seesaw, topped with an unmanned Orion capsule, lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the first leg of a return to the moon after a generation. If all goes well, humans should set foot on the Moon again by 2024, and on Mars by 2040.
Gateway and its Irish-based software will become a crucial springboard.