European Southern Observatory Selects RTI Middleware for World's Most Advanced Visible-Light Astronomical Observatory

RTI enables on-the-fly optimization of the world's largest astronomical control system while speeding development and integration

SUNNYVALE, Calif.–July 20, 2010– Real-Time Innovations (RTI), The Global Leader in DDS, today announced that European Southern Observatory (ESO) has selected RTI Data Distribution Service middleware for its Very Large Telescope (VLT). The VLT is the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory. Major scientific contributions have been made using the VLT, including the first direct optical observation of a planet outside our solar system.

Observatory advancements taking place today are partially due to ESO’s pioneering work in the field of large-scale Adaptive Optics (AO). AO requires highly distributed and extremely accurate sensors, actuators and control systems that change the shape of the telescope’s 8.2-meter mirror in conjunction with feedback from four 1.8-meter auxiliary telescopes in real time.

As a research facility continuously pushing the boundaries of adaptive optic science, ESO needed a communications infrastructure that facilitated its requirement to regularly update the AO control system in line with advances in AO science. RTI Data Distribution Service was selected as the most flexible, easy-to-use communication middleware that could also meet ESO’s real-time requirements.

The AO control system processes the enormous amount of data needed to calculate the inputs for more than one thousand actuators, which must precisely deform the telescope's mirrors in real time. The AO real-time communication fabric uses RTI Data Distribution Service for data concentration and analysis. RTI Data Distribution Service was also flexible enough to provide the support services needed for low-throughput applications such as event and log notifications over the same infrastructure.

ESO now has even more ambitious plans for the current VLT as well as for the future 42-meter (approximately 138-foot) European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). RTI Data Distribution Service is expected to satisfy the demanding scalability and real-time requirements of this even larger control system.

“We are very pleased with RTI. We needed a middleware solution that was modular and easy to understand, configure and optimize on the fly,” said Enrico Fedrigo, Adaptive Optics Team Lead, ESO Adaptive Optics Group. “We intend to use RTI for additional projects at ESO in the future.”

“We are excited that ESO is using RTI software for telescope technology,” said Dr. Stan Schneider, CEO of RTI. “We are proud to be part of these scientific advancements in observatory development.”

About RTI Data Distribution Service

RTI Data Distribution Service is a fully standards-compliant integration platform for real-time systems. It meets the demanding requirements of mission-critical applications, including low latency, high throughput and fault tolerance. The solution can run in ad hoc and autonomous environments, as well as over unreliable networks such as wireless and satellite links. It significantly reduces integration time and cost by allowing individual subsystems to be added or upgraded without requiring changes to existing software.

RTI Data Distribution Service complies with the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) specification, the leading standard for real-time application integration. RTI also natively supports the Real-Time Publish-Subscribe (RTPS) wire protocol for peer-to-peer interoperability with other RTPS-compliant DDS implementations. RTI is the world’s leading supplier of DDS-related software and services.

About ESO

ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organization in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious program focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organizing cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and VISTA, the world’s largest survey telescope. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning a 42-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

About RTI

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is the world's leading provider of middleware compliant with the Object Management Group (OMG) Data-Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) standard. With over 70% market share, more than 400 unique projects take advantage of RTI's software and expertise to slash the time and cost of systems integration. These span a broad range of industries including aerospace, defense, finance, intelligence, power generation and transportation. Founded in 1991, RTI is privately held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, please visit

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