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Calls for Ireland to establish national space agency

Staff Writer | August 28, 2017
The recommendation to establish national space agency in Ireland is made in a report "A Roadmap for Emerging Space States," launched at the conclusion of the nine-week International Space University’s Space Studies Programme 2017, hosted by Cork Institute of Technology.
Ireland space rocket
Science and technology   Space Studies Programme 2017
The report states that the space agency “would be responsible for the development of a comprehensive national policy to address the development of the Irish space sector.”

“Further, the space agency should advise the Government on space research, education, outreach, and industry development and investment.”

The report recommends that Ireland participate further in international partnerships and organisations related to space.

“Ireland should co-operate with established space states. In Ireland, the space industry has already developed around various fields so co-operation is more likely to focus on research and development collaboration rather than technology sharing; however, Irish policy may incentivise future programmes or businesses to prioritise technology transfer as a useful development tool.”

The report recommends that Ireland join the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

It says failing to join may hinder Ireland’s space sector development in the medium to long term by impeding or diminishing valuable international co-operation or technology transfer programmes.

This could also impact on commercial space startups that could be of economic benefit to Ireland.

Ireland has more than 30 companies that identify as contributing to the space market in the areas of electronics, software and propulsion, precision engineering, optoelectronics, and advanced materials.

The report also calls on Ireland to host a major international conference on space and to increase investment in space-related STEM education (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Ireland has been a member state of the European Space Agency for over 42 years. The main focus has been developing Irish businesses for the global space industry and ensuring economic and societal benefits.

Niall Smith, CIT lead on the Space Studies Programme, said it had proved to be a wonderful networking and learning experience.