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C-Space Launch

Major development for Irish space sector as UCD launches Space Centre

Ireland’s first satellite EIRSAT-1 ready for launch next year

Tuesday, 15 December 2020 

University College Dublin: Today UCD launched C-Space, the UCD Centre for Space Research, a first-of-its-kind dedicated hub of excellence for interdisciplinary collaborative space-related research, innovation and education in Ireland. By building on nationally leading projects such as EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite, C-Space will be a key national resource for space expertise and training.

The centre will focus on current key space research themes, in which UCD has established leadership, including: Astrophysics; Earth Observation; Gamma-ray Detectors; Nanosatellites and Payloads; Space Materials and Space Structure Dynamics and Control.

The core research is also underpinned by a cross-cutting industry support facility, to ensure a broad, positive impact for society and the economy from C-Space’s activities.

Centre Director, UCD Professor of Physics, Prof Lorraine Hanlon said: “As well as performing excellent space-related fundamental and applied interdisciplinary research, our purpose is also to build academic and industrial partnerships that advance the use of space to address global scientific and societal challenges.”

UCD Vice President for Research, Innovation and Impact Prof Orla Feely welcomed the centre’s launch: “We are delighted and proud to launch UCD’s new space centre which is an important step in Ireland’s journey to develop a strong and sustainable space industry. UCD has a distinguished record in astrophysics and space research dating from the 1960s and continuing to the present day with the development of EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite. With the launch of C-Space, UCD will build our academic and industry relationships across the global space sector, developing our talent at home and maximising for Ireland the many technological and economic opportunities in this exciting field.”

From GPS tracking that enables the global shipping industry, to monitoring crop yields and managing food supply, the space sector plays an increasingly important role in daily life. Space contributes approx. €80 billion to the European economy annually. There are currently many sectors and businesses that rely on space systems and space data, including Financial Services, and their number will increase dramatically in the next 10 years – with the evolution of new future networks-enabled technologies such as driverless cars, remote robotic surgery and automated agriculture.

Welcoming the announcement, Tom Kelly, Divisional Manager, Innovation and Competitiveness, Enterprise Ireland said: “The launch of the UCD C-Space Centre comes at an exciting time. Enterprise Ireland works closely with Irish companies to successfully bid for ESA contracts and we have seen the steady growth of Irish companies developing highly innovative technologies for the European Space programme and the wider global market. This also fits well with the Government Space strategy for Enterprise which specifically identifies the need to develop and attract talent with relevant skills for Irish Space-Active enterprises.” 

C-Space will support industry through consultancy, collaborations and access to test facilities. In addition, the centre will help to ensure that industry needs are met through university-based courses such as a Masters Degree programme in Space Science and Technology and Continuing Professional Development courses.

Chair of the Irish Space Industry Group Danny Gleeson commented: “Ireland’s growing space sector is creating high value jobs that require people with specific skill sets to enable Irish space companies to succeed in the global marketplace. We wholeheartedly welcome the establishment of the UCD Centre for Space Research and its commitment to produce graduates and professional training courses to meet the demands of the expanding Irish space sector and supporting the Government’s National Space Strategy for Enterprise.” 

The UCD C-Space virtual launch event featured a line-up of prominent speakers, including: Prof Michael Rast, Head of Earth Observation Science Strategy at the European Space Agency (ESA); Prof Malcolm Macdonald, Founding Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications and Prof Lorraine Hanlon, Director of C-Space at UCD.

Some members of the C-Space team. Line-up left to right:
Assist. Prof. Morgan Fraser, School of Physics, Astrophysics Theme Lead
Dr. Ronan Wall, C-Space Programme Manager, Industry Theme Lead
Assoc. Prof. Sheila McBreen, School of Physics, Gamma-Ray Detectors Theme Lead
Prof. Lorraine Hanlon, School of Physics, C-Space Director, Nanosatellites & Payloads Theme Lead
Prof. Kenneth Stanton, School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Space Materials Theme Lead
Assist. Prof. David McKeown, School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Space Structure Dynamics & Control Theme Lead 

Learn more about C-Space, the UCD Centre for Space Research at the website. 

Visit the EIRSAT-1 website and visit their YouTube channel to view their new video.

For more information please contact Caroline Byrne, Communications Manager, UCD Research. M: 0868427191, E: caroline.byrne1@ucd.ie.

UCD School of Physics

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777