Limerick company reaching for the stars

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by Bernie English

[email protected]

A HIGH-TECH Limerick development company looks set to expand, having landed a lucrative contract to develop space technology.

The European Space Agency has awarded a significant contract to Arralis, a technology company servicing the aerospace and security sector founded and based at the University of Limerick.

Arralis designs and manufactures high frequency semiconductor chips, modules and antennas. The contract will see Arralis deliver a radar chipset that will help direct unmanned probes away from hazards and space debris.

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“At the moment, an unmanned landing is a risk. They are landing blind with expensive equipment that may have taken years to reach its destination can land on something which will damage it. Our device can detect those hazardous objects and select a safer landing area,” a spokeswoman for the company explained.

Previous radar systems used by international space agencies worked well when controlled by an astronaut but unmanned landings have been prone to failure.

The company currently hopes to expand and take on more staff as a result of the Space Agency contract.

Arralis chief executive Barry Lunn described the contract as “a real endorsement of our unique engineering expertise and the success of our design team”.

“The most exciting aspect is that ESA’s millimetre wave group will work with us throughout the delivery process. Their experience in bringing MMICs through to space qualification is invaluable”, he said.