World Space Week signals things to come in Ireland host to SSP17

As preparations for the Space Studies Program (SSP17) in Cork continue, the space community in Ireland gathered for a range of different events to mark World Space Week, as reports below Ruth McAvinia SSP10 alumna.

More than 230 different events were organized around the country, including several featuring SSP15 alumna Dr Niamh Shaw, who interviewed Apollo astronaut Al Worden and aspiring space tourist Cyril Bennis about the dream of travelling off Earth.

A seminar named “Space for Growth” highlighted the opportunities for Ireland in the space industry, and for the space industry in Ireland. SSP17 host director and head of research at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) Dr Niall Smith moderated the event held in association with (CIT) Blackrock Castle Observatory, European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Space Industry Skillnet, and Enterprise Ireland. The seminar brought together people working in every aspect of the space industry in Ireland – from instrument development to data exploitation – at Dunsink Observatory in West Dublin.

Dr Smith pointed out that the return on investment in space and the benefits to industry were becoming clearer in Ireland. In addition to hosting SSP17, Ireland has recently been awarded a European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre.  Dr Smith thanked the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies for providing Dunsink as a venue, saying the historic observatory had “spawned and catalysed many vital ideas”.

Ireland has been a member of ESA since just after the Agency’s formation in 1975. Irish companies and research institutions are involved in a wide range of different activities for ESA – including missions such as Rosetta and Solar Orbiter, and the Ariane series of launchers. New Irish space companies are working on using space big data – developing better algorithms and exploiting remote sensing imagery. Bryan Rodgers, who is among Ireland’s ESA delegates said:

“Ireland’s space industry is growing and diversifying. There are a variety of opportunities for careers, and non-space companies should consider using space programmes to develop new technologies.”

ESA special scientific adviser Mark McCaughrean delivered a keynote address on ESA’s science missions, including the emotional farewell to Rosetta, which had taken place just a few days before. The event closed with a reading of the poem Stardust, written by the Irish President Michael D Higgins. President Higgins shared the poem with an outreach group at Blackrock Castle Observatory as an artistic exchange having seen a video of them rapping on the theme of space.

You can see the program for the event here.

SpaceUp Ireland, Ireland’s very first space unconference is the next gathering of ISU alumni and potential participants to the Space Studies Program (SSP17) taking place at CIT, Cork from 26 June to 25 August 2017.

Registration open! Online via