Skytek has been awarded a significant contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop flight support software for the new Gateway space station, an essential element of their ambition to bring a European to the Moon by 2030.
Image courtesy Skytek
Located Nearly 400,000 km from Earth, it is planned that the Lunar Gateway will be operational towards the end of 2024.
Gateway is an international initiative led by two main contributors, NASA (United States) and ESA (Europe). It is one of the pillars of NASA’s Artemis programme, supporting a sustainable presence on the Moon and exploration beyond.
The station is not intended for permanent occupancy but will be able to host four-person crews 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: the Gateway will play a vital role in this process.
ESA’s Ruediger Seine said: “We are awarding Skytek the contract for the Flight Data File software suite for the Lunar Gateway after open competition. Skytek has decades of experience and a proven track record of developing software for the International Space Station. We look forward to working with Skytek as we send astronauts back to the Moon and beyond. The ground components of the software will also help to make ISS operations even more efficient.”
The overall aim of the Flight Data File (FDF) Lunar Gateway Software is to provide Gateway operation using innovative solutions that will capitalise on the decades of experience of ISS operations. The software suite is aimed at supporting both ground operations and crew activities. The project will develop a suite of software tools to support both ODF and FDF procedures and provide a complete end to end solution.
The Skytek project will streamline the authoring 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 assist the astronaut to undertake complex and emergency tasks. Currently, Skytek’s IPV (International Procedural Viewer) technology is a core component of International Space Station operations, with over 60,000 Open Data File (ODF) procedures guiding and supporting astronaut activity. The new project will build on this current system.
Dr Sarah Bourke, Skytek CEO, said: "The awarding of this contract is testimony to the skill and excellence of our technical team. Working in the Space sector has afforded us the opportunity to work at the leading edge of science and technology. Indeed, we have taken this knowledge and successfully transferred it to other sectors including insurance and security."
Skytek has expanded significantly over the past few years, and Gateway software development will be undertaken at Skytek’s three European operations in Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Dr Leslie Orr, ADS Ireland Director, said: “This is great news for Skytek and I would like to congratulate Sarah Bourke and the whole team. Our goal is to further grow the space industry here, it is a very exciting sector with great opportunities. We have many innovative companies like Skytek to take the lead in space technologies.”