Ireland ‘at cutting edge of space technology’

Irish firms are at the cutting edge of European Space Agency programmes creating technologies capable of performing in the extreme environment of space.

Speaking at Enterprise Ireland’s forum on the benefits of Irish membership of the ESA, which took place at the Blackrock Observatory in Cork yesterday, director of technical and quality management at the ESA Dr Franco Ongaro said: “Irish companies have distinguished themselves, particularly in the fields of electronics, software, materials and propulsion. The areas where Irish companies are active right now are those which are likely to continue to grow.”

Dr Ongaro said he envisioned Irish companies playing a key role in the space agency’s busy schedule ahead — including rolling out the Galileo satellite navigation system, supplying human spaceflight missions and a range of telecommunication and science missions.

One example of Ireland’s contribution to ESA is the role of an Irish company in yesterday’s docking of the first commercial flight to the International Space Station.

SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft aboard its Falcon 9 rocket from their Cape Canaveral launch site on Tuesday morning and at lunchtime yesterday European astronaut André Kuipers used the International Space Station’s robotic arm to guide this first commercial cargo ship to berth at the station. The equipment used to monitor the systems and performance on board the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launcher were developed and supplied by the Dublin-based Curtiss Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics.


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