Skytek wins ESA software contract

The announcement comes as Artemis 1 begins the lunar mission

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Skytek has won a major contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop flight assistance software for the new Gateway space station, a key part of their ambition to get a European to the Moon by 2030.

Gateway is an international initiative led by two main contributors, NASA and ESA. It is one of the pillars of Nasa’s Artemis program, supporting an enduring presence on the Moon and exploration beyond.

The contract announcement for Skytek comes after Artemis 1, the most powerful space rocket in history, launched today from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft, including the Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule, is on a 25-day, 1.3 million-mile journey to the moon and back.

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The Gateway space station is not intended for permanent occupancy but will accommodate crews of four for periods of one to three months. Gaining new experience around the Moon will prepare international partner space agencies to send the first humans to Mars by 2040.

Dr Sarah Bourke, CEO of Skytek, said: “The awarding of this contract is a testament to the skill and excellence of our engineering team. Working in the space sector gave us the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of science and technology. Indeed, we have taken this knowledge and successfully transferred it to other industries, including insurance and security.

The overall goal of the Flight Data File (FDF) Lunar Gateway software is to provide Gateway operation using innovative solutions that will capitalize on decades of ISS operations experience. The software suite aims to support both ground operations and crew activities. The project will develop a suite of software tools to support Open Data File (ODF) and FDF procedures and provide a complete end-to-end solution.

The Skytek project will streamline the writing of thousands of crew procedures and processes; it will provide mobile web applications to support daily maintenance and support scientific activities. Finally, it will provide critical decision support software to help the astronaut undertake complex and time-sensitive tasks. Currently, Skytek’s International Procedural Viewer (IPV) technology is a core component of International Space Station operations, with more than 60,000 ODF procedures guiding and supporting astronaut activity. The new project will build on this current system.

Skytek has grown significantly over the past few years and development of the Gateway software will be undertaken across Skytek’s three European operations in Ireland, Poland and the UK.

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