Irish employment in space sector set to double

Thanks to new investment in the European Space Agency...

The Department of Jobs expects Irish investment in the European Space Agency (ESA) to double our employment in the space field.

It is anticipated that over 1,000 high-value tech jobs will be added to the Irish industry over the next four years.

ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner was in Ireland today to oversee a new agreement to establish a Space Business Incubation Centre in the country.

The deal between ESA and Cork research centre The Tyndall National Institute will support 25 Irish startups involved in space-related technologies by 2020.

Wörner, who recently spoke about building a village on the Moon, said:

"Global space economy is undergoing rapid change as more countries enter the 21st century space race.

"Given the high level of technology innovation we have seen in Ireland, Irish space companies are ideally placed to gain a significant share of the global space market and are already expanding rapidly into it."

Hailing the plan which will see the Irish space sector "expand at an unprecedented rate over the next few years", Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O'Connor said:

"Our investment in ESA will manifest itself through new companies entering the space sector, scaling of existing companies and the development of a strong cohort of high technology start-ups, leading to increased sales, exports and jobs.

"Investment in ESA space programmes, given the pace of expansion of the Global and European space economies, will put high-tech Irish companies and researchers in a position to exploit this potential to the maximum."

The State's annual ESA investment is supporting strong growth in the sector, with the number of companies operating in it expected to expand to over 80 by 2020, which should see annual revenues grow from €76 million in 2015 to €135 million by 2020.

Companies involved with ESA are projected to increase combined turnover from €274 million to over half a billion by 2020.