Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.54 19 Jun 2019


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It is hoped 1,000 extra jobs can be created here by companies working in the space industry.

That is one of the aims of Ireland's first ever National Space Strategy, which was launched on Wednesday.

The strategy will provide strategic support to expanding space-active industry and research institutes.

A key new opportunity for Ireland has emerged on foot of a 2017 agreement between Enterprise Ireland and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The agreement allows access an unprecedented volume of near real-time data about planet Earth and its environment, captured by the EU's Copernicus programme.

It is estimated that the Copernicus programme could generate a financial benefit of approximately €30bn, in addition to over 50,000 new jobs, by 2030.

Space Strategy Pictured (left to right) Tom Kelly, Enterprise Ireland; Prof Brian MacCraith, President of DCU and Minister of State John Halligan | Image: Julien Behal Photography

While the midstream sector - including data sales, data acquisition, data processing, data archiving and data distribution - has been forecast to grow by 11% annually up to 2022.

"Ireland is ideally positioned, given our strong heritage in ICT, to seize this opportunity and develop Copernicus data to respond to opportunities", the strategy said.

The strategy sets out six ambitious goals to achieve by 2025:

  • double the space related revenue and employment in space-active Irish companies
  • support 100 companies to benefit from ESA engagement
  • double the value of contracts won through the EU Horizon programmes in space-related activities
  • increase industry, public and international awareness of space and Ireland's activities in space
  • develop and attracting talent for space-active and related industries
  • develop a sustainable Earth Observation services sector based on advanced data analytics capability

The delivery of these goals is underpinned by a target to increase Ireland's overall public and private investment through the ESA.

The strategy aims to increase public and private investment in the ESA by 50% by 2025, which would see investment grow to an annual level of €32m.

Minister of State John Halligan said: "Space-active Irish companies have become increasingly successful within European Space Agency and EU programmes in recent years.

"As the space economy continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, there is a growing opportunity for Irish companies to participate.

"This strategy puts into place a framework for a greater Irish involvement, and enhanced success at a global level."

According to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the international space sector has grown by an average of 6.7% per year between 2005 and 2017.

That is almost twice the 3.5% average yearly growth of the global economy.

Space Strategy Minister of State with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan in the Anechoic Chamber at the National Space Strategy for Enterprise launch in DCU | Image: Image: Julien Behal Photography

While the capabilities of space-active firms in Ireland have progressed significantly - with the number of companies engaged in contract work with the ESA having grown from 35 in 2008 to 67 in 2018.

The development of Ireland's space-active industry is supported by Ireland's membership to international organisations including the ESA, the European Union space programmes and EUMETSAT.

Last year, 27 companies in Ireland secured ESA contracts valued at €19.3m.

The National Space Strategy can be found here


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Copernicus ESA Enterprise Ireland. European Space Agency Ireland Jobs John Halligan National Space Strategy Space Strategy

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