SGAC Ireland

National Point of Contact  
Ireland Ireland
James Harpur Laura Keogh
James Harpur
Aug 2014-Aug 2016
    Laura Keogh        Jul 2016 - Jul 2018
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Ireland is one of the original members of ESA (European Space Agency) joining in 1975 and an active participant in a variety of ESA programmes such as space science, satellite navigation, satellite communications and launcher development. There are many young space enthusiasts in Ireland seeking opportunities in space education and the space industry. Until now, there has been no central location for space networking in Ireland. Therefore, SGAC Ireland shall provide a focal point for the space community in Ireland to bring space awareness and to ensure opportunities are maximized to the new generation of Irish space leaders. If you have an interest in space and uniting the Irish space community please join us and spread the word about SGAC Ireland. If you have any useful information (e.g., links, events, clubs or societies) which would add to our current page, please do not hesitate to contact Ireland’s National Point of Contact.


Young Space Activities Overview in Ireland

At present, there is a variety of Irish space activities happening throughout Ireland: Astronomy (stargazing), model rocket launches, presentations, workshops, conferences, classes, societies, groups, space camps for children and much more. SGAC Ireland aims to maximise the awareness of all the events happening throughout the country. Space activities are an exciting, fun and interesting way to learn about science and engineering for both young and old. There are a number of observatories located in many parts of the country and regular observations are open free to the public. There is also an Irish rocketry society in which kids, students, adults or a family can enjoy learning how to design, build and launch model rockets. Ireland also boasts the largest national astronomy club in the world relative to population aptly named "Astronomy Ireland," who aims to promote astronomy, space interest and education through talks, lectures, observing sessions and other events nationwide. All of the space activities in Ireland can be viewed from our country specific events section of the webpage and our weblinks. Over 70 Irish companies and research groups have secured an estimated €70m in ESA development contracts over the past ten years and this number is expected to grow significantly in the next three years. Enterprise Ireland is the Irish body responsible for co-ordinating Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA). Enterprise Ireland supports Irish companies’ participation in the European Space programme. Enterprise Ireland’s role is to assist Irish companies to successfully bid for ESA contracts and help them exploit their technologies in the commercial space market. Several Irish companies were able to secure contracts from ESA worth an initial total value of €3.5 million to develop and supply components for the Galileo satellites and the extensive ground-based network of the satellite control system. The Irish companies involved are; Airtel ATN Ltd, Dublin; Daysha Consulting Ltd, Dublin; Measurement Specialities (MSI), Galway; The National Space Centre Ltd, Midleton, Cork; Skytek Ltd, Dublin; Sogeti, Dublin and Galway and Zelinda Ltd, Waterford. There are numerous universities and institutes in Ireland where bachelor degrees can be obtained in space related subjects such as astronomy, physics & astrophysics, space science and engineering. In addition, space-related post graduate research projects can be pursued at the majority of these universities. See our interesting weblinks section of this page for a list of the associated colleges and universities. Enterprise Ireland provides substantial scholarships to successful Irish applicants who attend the Alpbach Summer School in Austria and the International Space University (for both the Space Studies Program and the Master’s Program).


Country-Specific Events in 2014

  • Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (January): This competition is open from all second level students in Ireland and encourages students to be creative and inventive with their projects. It is hosted at the RDS in Dublin and attracts over 40,000 people and it is an annual event.
  • European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO): Ireland promotes space as a theme to inspire and engage young people in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Co-funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Discover Science and Engineering (DSE), ESERO provides assistance and information year round.
  • Engineers Week (9 January - 15 February): The week-long series of activities across the country is run by Engineers Ireland and is a campaign held annually to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the profession to Ireland.
  • Science Week (9 - 16 November): Science Week is a week-long project around Ireland to encourage the young generation into STEM activities.

Various events take place around Ireland for all ages and interests. 

  • Blackrock Castle Observatory: Will host exciting events and competitions throughout 2014 so keep an eye out.
  • Astronomy Ireland: Host a range of events around the country often free of charge for everyone to come along and enjoy.
  • Irish Rocketry Society (April through August): Launches take place on the last Sunday of each month.
  • Dunsink Observatory: Hosts various events and seminars throughout the year.
  • The only way is up: Ireland’s First Secondary School Experiment to go to Space is a project co-ordinated by Norah Patten, Communications and Outreach manager for the Irish Centre for Composites Research which will see the first experiment designed by Irish high school students go to the International Space Station in 2014. The project is scheduled to launch on the Orb-2 mission from Wallops Virginia on the Antares Orbital Sciences rocket. 

Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in Ireland

Places to see:

  • Birr Castle, Co. Offally: The Great Telescope – in the 1840’s the Earl of Rosse designed and built the largest telescope in the world. This reflecting telescope remained the largest in the world for over 70 years.
  • Newgrange, Co. Meath: Constructed over 5000 years ago (making it older than the Pyramids) Newgrange is an ancient temple and passage tomb. Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the Winter Solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage of the mound there is a opening called a roof-box.  On mornings around the winter solstice a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19 metre passage and into the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens so that the whole chamber is dramatically illuminated.

Student Education

Institutions and Universities

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