Ireland launches first ever National Space Strategy

Ireland launches first ever National Space Strategy

The country's first ever National Space Strategy has been launched.

The National Space Strategy runs until 2025 and aims to increase awareness of Ireland's involvement in space and double the number of jobs created by the industry.

It is hoped that Ireland will develop "an economically sustainable and expanding space-active industry, delivering quality jobs for the economy of tomorrow".

The Strategy is built on five strategic pillars: Investment, Strengths and Opportunities, Governance, Talent, and International Engagement.

The government is also hoping to boost the number of companies doing work for the European Space Agency (ESA) to 100.

Currently, 67 Irish businesses are working with the ESA to develop technologies for the institutional and commercial space markets and it is projected that by 2020 the number of Irish-based companies operating in the sector will rise to 80.

Ireland joined the European Space Agency in 1975 and in recent years has seen strong growth in the sector.

In 2008, the number of people employed by ESA participating companies was 1,300.

This figure rose to 2,000 by 2014 and is projected to exceed 4,500 by 2020.

Irish companies are projected to generate commercial sales of €133m by 2020.

Several Irish companies were involved in the high profile science mission, Rosetta, which became the first ever to rendezvous with and place a lander on a comet.

Rosetta was a landmark for space exploration and scientists hope it will help to unlock some of the secrets of the solar system.

Rosetta orbiter
Rosetta orbiter

A number of Irish companies were involved in building parts of the craft and Irish scientists were also involved in the research and control aspects of the mission.

Irish people are also involved in the upcoming missions such as ESA's Solar Orbiter mission and NASA's James Webb Telescope.

Professor Orla Feely, University College Dublin (UCD) Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact welcomed today's publication by Minister John Halligan.

“I specifically welcome the ambition of this strategy to place Ireland at the forefront of the utilisation of space-derived data, which is having a transformative global impact across all sectors, underpinning research into most pressing societal challenges, such as climate change, food security and air pollution," said Professor Feely.

She added: "The emergence of Space 4.0 will create a wealth of opportunities for Irish enterprises to build on our research base and create new opportunities for business and our graduates.

"However, in order to take full advantage of these opportunities, greater research investment is necessary to enable the growth of the space industry and increase economic return for the country.”

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