Space is not just something other nations do – it is something that we do in Northern Ireland and do very well, that’s according to Robert Hill, Director of the Northern Ireland Space Office, when speaking to the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), David Morris MP, during a visit by him to Northern Ireland last week.

The APPG’s job is to raise awareness in Parliament of the importance and opportunities of space-based capabilities to the UK economy, policy making, society and the space community, as well as highlight and promote the benefits from the UK's investment in space and its leading role within the global space economy.

During his visit, Mr David Morris MP, visited both Newry test facilitator, Resonate Testing and award-winning software company, Skytek in Belfast. Tom Mallon, managing director of Resonate Testing was quick to point out that “there is much potential and opportunity within the Northern Irish Space Industry Cluster, whether it’s in upstream or downstream products or services, however we must not be left behind the other nations.”

“I believe there is an excellent prospect to create a commercially viable incubator and realise a commercially successful space industry within Northern Ireland but what is needed is practical and financial support.”

Robert Hill, who is also the Chair of the Northern Ireland Space Leadership Council and the Northern Ireland Space Special Interest Group (NISSIG), hosted by ADS, said, “It was a pleasure to meet Mr Morris MP and discuss the many exciting opportunities for the sector in Northern Ireland. There are many emerging opportunities to upscale Northern Ireland, and I want to do everything in my power to develop the region as a globally recognised place for the space sector, its innovation and creativity, and with companies like Resonate Testing and Skytek, we are doing just that.

He continued; “It is essential, however, for Northern Ireland to be part of the UK Space Strategy and provide proactive input, rather than reacting to a strategy already in place. Access to space has never been better as launch costs get less expensive, the private sector grows and the proliferation of lower cost satellite constellations and mega constellations.

“The next ten years will see an exponential growth in commercial space activities and Northern Ireland has these capabilities to support this global development. Data Analytics and Cyber will be key drivers for the space sector in the next decade with increasing demand for satellites as a service.”

Mr David Morris MP, APPG Chair, said; “It was wonderful to visit Northern Ireland and chat with both Tom [Mallon] and Rita [Malosti] about the ongoing work of Resonate Testing and Skytek. It was very insightful, and I believe that Northern Ireland given its microscopic nature, would be a great test bed for the sector.

“The UK Government is committed to supporting Northern Ireland, and businesses like Resonate Testing and Skytek show the importance of Northern Ireland to the UK, as well as showcasing the world-class talent and expertise that exists.”

Rita Malosti, Head of Space Activities, Skytek, said, “I was delighted to brief David Morris MP on the activities of Skytek. We’ve been operating for over 20 years and as a software development company, specialising in the space sector, we’ve many key partners. With a highly skilled and innovative team we’ve a proven track record and we are now looking to invest further in R&D for an Earth Observation centre, alongside our many products.”

Invest Northern Ireland also contributed to the visit and gave Mr Morris MP an overview of the space sector in Northern Ireland. This included showcasing the local companies and universities that are involved in global space programmes through innovation on the ground and in orbit; next generation lunar missions and deep space missions; and the aspiration to double Northern Ireland’s space sector by 2030.

Dr Leslie Orr, ADS(NI) added; “Northern Ireland has a growing space sector with great capabilities in both downstream and upstream. I must thank Mr Morris MP for visiting Resonate Testing and Skytek to gain a better understanding of this sector and its challenges. The excellent contribution that both these companies make, along with many others, show how important this sector is to both the UK and Northern Ireland economies.”

Next up in our 'Meet the Team' feature is our Quality Engineer, Ian Stewart. Find out more about Ian below:

Tell us more about your position as Quality Engineer:

I have a reasonably broad remit taking in Quality, Business Systems and Customer Support.

Length of time working for the company

Just over six months

What is your background?

I graduated in electrical and electronic engineering, but started work in Quality Assurance for a telecoms and automotive electronics manufacturing company. I became Quality Manager, looking after the quality management system, but also BS and CECC product qualification approvals.

I then managed an environmental test and validation laboratory in a global automotive electronics manufacturing company for 18 years.

Favourite part of the job?

I am enjoying working in the Resonate team. There is a real “can do” attitude and customer focus. I’m still learning about different parts of the business.

What does a typical day involve?

I’m not sure there is a typical day at Resonate! Work to date has included planning for development and extension of  Resonate’s test capabilities into new areas, reviewing management system processes and operation, preparing training material, reviewing customer test requirements, as well as some hands on testing support.

The common factor is working with the Resonate team to deliver for the customer.

What opportunities have you been given as a member of the team at Resonate Testing?

In a relatively short time with the company I’ve been able to support in the ISO 9001 annual surveillance audit, and I’ve also had the opportunity to progress the company to achieving ISTA Certified Laboratory status for packaging testing.

How do you like to relax outside of work?

Saturday mornings, I do Parkrun – I got past the 100 milestone in January.

I play the clarinet and have recently joined Lisburn Community Orchestra. I also enjoy playing the guitar and singing.

I volunteer with Scouts, and have carried out quite a few roles over the years.

THE Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Conor Burns MP visited Newry based testing company, Resonate Testing on Wednesday 20th April 2022 to engage and gain a detailed understanding of the company’s work, the sectors it services and the ongoing challenges it faces, as well as its future plans for growth.

Established in 2016, Resonate Testing found a niche in the testing services market, offering a range of high-quality testing and certification services across all industrial sectors, which has driven significant growth and demand for the testing facilitator’s services.

Having recently diversified into the space sector, Managing Director of Resonate Testing, Tom Mallon, sees huge potential and opportunity for SMEs looking to enter the space industry across the UK. Northern Ireland is engaging in a Northern Ireland Space Strategy to create a firm and realistic foundation from which to grow the space sector, and enhance the region’s standing in the space community.

Following the visit, Tom said, “Resonate Testing was delighted to host the Minister of State for Northern Ireland and have the opportunity to show him our highly innovative testing facility, meet some of our expert team and give a demonstration of high shock and fire testing, and how we integrate practical solutions with key software to deliver results to our customers.

“We explained to the Minister about the many capabilities that we have from fire, flammability and packaging to shock, environmental and climatic testing, and the opportunities that are available to our company within the space sector throughout the UK. It is important that we maximise these opportunities and realise the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda, otherwise the region may be left behind its British counterparts, if support is not provided.“

Following the visit, Minister of State Conor Burns MP said; “It was wonderful to visit Resonate Testing and hear about the great success of a family run business, seeing how alive its entrepreneurial spirit is and innovative in its approach.

“The space sector in the UK is going from strength to strength, with the UK Space Industry recently reporting that the size of the space industry in Northern Ireland has tripled in the past year.

“The UK Government is committed to supporting Northern Ireland, and businesses like Resonate Testingshow the importance of Northern Ireland to the UK, showcasing the world-class talent and expertise that exists here.”

Resonate Testing’s customer base ranges geographically from Europe, USA and Brazil, to Canada and Japan, as well as across the Island of Ireland and the UK. During the global pandemic, the company minimised any disruption to services thanks to the introduction of its innovative and forward-thinking high quality video stream service in 2019, which was recognised with a platinum level Innovate NI Innovation Accreditation.

Ian Stewart has been appointed as Quality Engineer with Newry based testing company, Resonate Testing.

Bringing extensive experience in quality management and testing and validation to the role, Ian will be responsible for ensuring quality standards are maintained and developed within the company. He also played an instrumental role in the company’s recent achievement of the ISTA Certification for packaging testing.

Ian’s previous experience includes roles at Schrader Electronics/Sensata Techologies and Lucas Stability Electronics.

NEWRY company, Resonate Testing, the leading commercial test house on the island of Ireland, conducted high level vibration and SRS shock testing on equipment that was used as part of the successful launch of the James Webb telescope on Christmas Day.

The telescope, the largest, most powerful and complex telescope ever built, has been described as a “time machine” by scientists and will allow astronomers to study the beginning of the universe shortly after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago, as well as hunting for signs of life-supporting planets in our own galaxy.

Resonate Testing worked with Dublin based Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, which played a critical role in the launch by providing video images of the separation of the fairings (equipment used to protect the spacecraft during launch), and the spacecraft from the rocket.

Réaltra Space Systems ensured that all products underwent a rigorous “qualification” test campaign, which validated that the design could survive the harsh environments of the launch and space with sufficient margin. The process included extensive testing by Resonate Testing’s experienced and knowledgeable team to ensure the tests were completed to the required space industry standards.

Speaking about the launch of the most ambitious robot probe ever built, the $10bn James Webb telescope, which was blasted into space on top of a giant European rocket, Managing Director of Resonate Testing, Tom Mallon, said “Christmas was extra special this year. As a company we were extremely proud to have played a part in the successful launch of the huge Ariane 5 launcher and the James Webb telescope from the European Space Agency’s station in French Guiana.

“We have been working with Realtra Space for some time, and in recent years we have been competing on a global level by exploiting key upstream resources and developing world-class space downstream capabilities.”

Resonate Testing operates from its Centre of Excellence for Space in Newry and provides a range of testing processes across many sectors. The company has seen an increasing number of tests within the Space Sector, which can be attributed to its ability to rapidly develop and approve new capabilities, following requests from customers – not just in the space sector, but across the many industries that they service. This demonstrates Resonate Testing’s exceptional engineering services as a tried and tested facilitator.

In 2020, the company was awarded Platinum in the Innovate NI Innovation Accreditation programme for its cutting-edge processes that seen the delivery of high-quality live stream testing to global customers, including Réaltra, throughout the global pandemic.

“WE urgently need the Government to step up and support the Space Sector so we can compete in the global market.” That’s the words of Resonate Testing Managing Director, Tom Mallon who fears the region may be left behind its GB counterparts if support is not provided, threatening the progress that has already been made in the sector.

The call comes ahead of the latest All Ireland Space Industry Day, hosted by the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space (ADS) Group, which takes place at Armagh City Hotel on Thursday 21st October. The event will look at innovation within the Space Sector throughout the region, which has been competing on a global level in recent years by exploiting key space engineering, manufacturing, and testing resources and developing world-class space data analytics and machine learning capabilities.

Mr Mallon believes that as well as providing support, including financial assistance, the Government needs to step up and help companies upskill their employees, so they are able to compete on the global market. Depending on the level of support provided, he believes the sector will either see further significant growth by many local SMEs, or alternatively, if no action is taken, it could potentially squander the opportunities that have arisen from the NI Protocol and the unfettered access to the EU markets.

Tom said, “The Space Sector offers so much potential to many SMEs in Northern Ireland, but if we don’t act now, we are going to miss out. The good work that has been achieved will disappear. Political figures and business leaders need to approach this from a ‘levelling up’ agenda. When we look at spend here in Northern Ireland, we are not seeing the opportunities that mainland UK see. If our political leaders don’t support us, we are going to miss out.

“We are now competing on an international and global level. We need to be able to find the right staff and train them to the level required so Northern Ireland can pursue its vision of becoming a globally recognised region for space sector innovation and creativity. This will allow us to exploit further opportunities in the future.”

The Space Cluster within the region has grown in recent years and saw the launch of the Northern Ireland Space Strategy, as well as the Northern Ireland Space Special Interest Group (NISSIG), but to get to the next level, more support needs to be provided to those companies that operate within the sector.

Resonate Testing is one of those companies. Recognised as one of the leading commercial test houses on the Island of Ireland, the company operates from its Centre of Excellence for Space in Newry and provides a range of testing processes across many sectors. In the last 12 months, there has been an increasing demand for tests within the Space Sector and over the next 18 months, the company is on track to grow its space related work from an estimated 10% to 25% of company turnover.

High level vibration and SRS shock testing was conducted by Resonate Testing on equipment that will be used as part of the launch for the upcoming James Webb telescope; the largest, most powerful and complex telescope ever built, which will be launched into space on 18th December 2021.

By raising awareness of the capabilities of companies throughout the Island of Ireland, many of which are up and coming, Tom believes the sector will thrive. He said, “Here in Northern Ireland, and across the island, we have so many companies doing incredible work across the space sector, but with the right support, they and many other companies, will be able to do so much more. We need to raise awareness of our capabilities and through support from the Government and events like the All Ireland Space Industry Day, I firmly believe we will be able to achieve this.”

As part of the All Ireland Space Industry Day, Tom will be presenting alongside Danny Gleeson, Chief Commercial Officer at Dublin-based Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, on how the company remained resilient throughout the pandemic, whilst continuing its innovation. Resonate Testing was awarded Platinum in the Innovate NI Innovation Accreditation programme for its cutting-edge processes that seen the delivery of high-quality live stream testing to global customers, including Réaltra, throughout the global pandemic.

NEWRY-based testing company, Resonate Testing is taking steps to close the current skills gap facing many companies across Northern Ireland, through participation in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship programme will see two apprentices join Resonate Testing on a part time basis, whilst undertaking a professional-level qualification with Southern Regional College. The programme will allow Resonate Testing to train the apprentices to the level required so they can garner strong technical and employability skills, as well as allowing for increased productivity within the company.

Whilst the apprentices earn as they learn, they will also have improved opportunities for career progression, and have exposure to the technical skills involved in the niche market of testing with a growing and successful company that offers its services to the global market.

Tom Mallon, Managing Director at Resonate Testing spoke about the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme saying, “Whilst Resonate Testing has taken on apprentices and interns before, this is our first time to participate in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme. The programme allows us to play our part in addressing the skills gap that we, and many other companies throughout Northern Ireland, are currently facing.

“It is hugely important that the younger talent is given the opportunity to establish and perfect their skill set, and we feel that it is our responsibility to offer the practical experience required to help create a skilled workforce in the future. Sometimes, the practical experience can be the difference in a good and a great engineer!”

Michelle Billham from Southern Regional College spoke about Resonate Testing’s participation in the HLA programme, saying, “The HLA programme is a fantastic pathway for those starting their career to work and earn a salary whilst studying for a higher-level qualification to degree level. With companies like ResonateTesting participating, apprentices are given the best possible start to their career. We’re delighted that Tom and his team are able to participate in the programme this year and look forward to developing the partnership further in the months ahead.”

Colm Cunningham from Newry is undertaking the Higher Level Apprenticeship Mechatronics programme with Resonate Testing. He spoke about the programme saying, “Getting to complete my apprenticeship with Resonate Testing is a fantastic opportunity and one that I have no doubt will give me a great start to my career. With the apprenticeship, I can implement what I have learned at Southern Regional College into my practical work, as well as learn from the team. I’m looking forward to the years ahead.”

Abbey Brady has also commenced her apprenticeship with the Resonate Testing as she undertakes the three year Mechatronics apprenticeship at Southern Regional College. Abbie said, “The Higher Level Apprenticeship programme is a great way for me to get some practical experience whilst learning at Southern Regional College. It also means that I don’t have the high fees that are usually associated with a university degree. I’m looking forward to joining Resonate Testing and want to thank Tom and the team for the opportunity.”

Resonate Testing has always placed a firm emphasis on nurturing younger talent, putting its future in the hands of young engineers and technicians. The company recently welcomed Joel Bell from Banbridge to the team, who completed a mechanical engineering apprenticeship at Southern Regional College.

Speaking about the opportunity with Resonate Testing, Joel said, “The apprenticeship provided me with much of the knowledge required to progress in an engineering career. Now, with the opportunity to join Resonate Testing, I get to further develop that knowledge in a practical setting, and build on what I have already learned.”

Resonate Testing conducts high quality testing and certification services for a variety of sectors including aerospace, medical, space and automotive. Since the onset of the global pandemic, the company has experienced a surge in customer enquiries regarding its niche offering of live stream testing, which has been delivered to a global audience that has no access to local testing facilities.

Next to feature in our 'Meet the Team' is Resonate Testing Project Engineer, Orla O'Donnell. Find out more about Orla, our very own musical maestro, below!

Q1. Length of time working for the company? – Six months

Q2. What is your background?

My background is electrical and electronics engineering. I worked on fighter jets for 18 years with the UKs largest defence company.

I was also a teacher of physics, electronics and systems and control technology in the Lake District for 6 years and was project manager and engineering manager for an aircraft seat manufacturer. In addition to this, I’m also a STEM Ambassador and coach!

Q3. Favourite part of the job?

Testing – Fire testing is dangerous and interesting and FUN! Knowing that you are testing products to ensure people’s safety is also a good feeling.

Q4. What does a typical day involve?

There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ here at Resonate Testing. I could start the day shaking components for an aircraft wing and end the day doing fire tests on seat fabric.

In between, I could be writing reports or investigating new specifications.

Q5. What opportunities have you been given as a member of the team at Resonate Testing?

I have been able to investigate new ways of testing materials that I used in my previous careers. I also get to learn about different sectors other than the aircraft industry. Resonate Testing does work for many industries including automotive, oil and gas, space and aerospace, and we are looking to expand our capability into construction and packaging, so there are many opportunities ahead.

Q6. How do you like to relax outside of work?

I love music and play a number of instruments.  I like to play guitar and sing so hopefully after the lockdown ends, I can get back to seeing and hearing live music and getting back to my favourite music festivals.  I walk and cycle and enjoy spending time around water – lakes and the sea.

Q7. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself

I am a classically trained cellist.

 

Does the name Wally Funk resonate with you? We’re guessing if you have a social media presence, you are by now familiar with Wally, who became the oldest person to fly to outer space on Blue Origin, alongside billionaire businessman, Jeff Bezos, on 20th July.

With a lifelong interest in the aviation and space industries, Wally was a trailblazer and pioneer for women within both sectors. Due to travel to outer space with the Mercury 13 crew back in the 1960s before the trip was unfortunately cancelled, Wally’s dream finally came through thanks to a breakthrough in technological advancements and an uptake in private organisations making the journey to space.

Resonate Testing is proud to play our own part in these advancements, being somewhat a trailblazer on the Island of Ireland for conducting high quality testing and certification services across a range of sectors, from our Centre of Excellence in Newry.

We have conducted testing on a number of space related projects, including the Réaltra Space Systems Engineering launcher Video Telemetry system that will provide on board telemetry from a launch vehicle due to travel to outer space in 2022, with further projects in the pipeline.

With the popularity and demand of the space sector growing in Ireland, with commercial sales soaring from €75m in 2015 to €133m in 2020, there is huge potential for companies working across the space industry, meaning even more potential for people to have the opportunity to work in this exciting sector.

This is where Resonate Testing needs YOU!

Due to recent investment and expansion, we are currently recruiting a number of talented, passionate and hard-working people to help us on this journey.

We have a number of vacancies including engineers, business development and quality/technical roles so if you are interested in working with a company that works on projects that are quite literally, out of this world, then this is for you!

So, whether you see yourself as a Wally Funk, representing females within a relatively male dominated industry, or as a Jeff Bezos, spearheading future developments in the space sector, apply for one of our roles today and take the first step into your new career.

For more information on the available roles, visit our website here: https://www.resonatetesting.com/careers/.

Job Title:                  Quality/ Technical Administrator

Start date:                Aug - Sept 2021

Reporting To:         The Nacelle Group General Manager

Salary:                       £23,000 - £30,000 (pa - 38 hours per week –flexible role)

Job Purpose:          Resonate Testing is one of the leading commercial test houses on the Island of Ireland, providing high quality testing and certification services to organisations across all industrial sectors, demonstrating compliance with international performance standards, whilst also testing the safety and reliability of customer products. Part of The Nacelle Group, Resonate Testing has specialist knowledge in vibration and shock, fire and flammability, and environmental and climatic testing in industries including aerospace, medical devices, space, aerospace and automotive.

Following our recent investment and continued growth of the company, we are inviting applications for a Quality/ Technical Administrator to join our multi-talented team, based at our Centre of Excellence in Newry.

We are looking for an individual capable of working flexibly to meet the changing demands of a busy laboratory. The role focused on supporting the business administration and managing the quality management system relating to all test house activities, staff and systems to enable the effective delivery of tests. You will need to have good 'attention to detail’ and be capable of maintaining a disciplined and consistent approach to all activities, a good communicator and team player.

Note:

Applicants must have all appropriate permits and visas to work in the UK and European Union.

The successful candidate will be asked to complete an AccessNI check and medical.

 

Key Responsibilities:

Analyse data on the effectiveness of the QMS and evaluate where continual improvements of the QMS can be made. This shall include data generated as a result of monitoring and measurement and from other relevant sources.

 

PERSON SPECIFICATION

Job Title:                  Quality/ Technical Administrator 

Criteria Essential / Desirable
Qualifications/ Attainments Essential Requirement

·      HNC or higher in Quality and Business Administration

Desirable Requirement

·      Trained auditor for an ISO based quality management system

Relevant Knowledge and Experience Essential Requirement

·      2 years’ experience in a relevant quality related field

·      Experience in dealing with quality system documentation

Desirable Requirement

·      Experience in dealing with ISO17025 quality management system

Skills and Competencies Essential Requirements

·       The capability to write clear and concise documentation.

·       Able to learn and assimilate new information and maintain confidentiality

·       Good level of written and numerical / data handling skills and multi- tasking

·       Excellent interpersonal skills Excellent communication and interpersonal skills including ability to build relationships

·       Extensive Experience with MS office tools (Outlook/Excel/Word/PowerPoint)

Circumstances Essential Requirements

·      Able to work flexibly as required to ensure business needs are met

·      Willingness to undergo any further training to meet the needs of the company.

·      Based in Resonate Testing Premises Newry

 

Desirable Requirements

·      Driving licence and use of own car.

 

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