New Frontiers Open Up For East Cork Businesses

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council was the location for the closing ceremony of a nine week symposium on business opportunities in Space last Friday 25 August.
The conference in conjunction with Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the International Space University (ISU) took place from 26 June and was aimed at urging businesses here to boldly go where no business has gone before.
Over 100 of the world’s future space leaders from 25 different countries and over 200 of the world’s top Astronauts, Scientists Entrepreneurs, Engineers, Artists and International University Faculty members attended the summer programme.
Astronaut Dan Tani married to Cork woman Jane Egan was among 5 astronauts to attend.
Recommendations from the two month programme suggest we establish a national space agency to co-ordinate the Irish space sector.
Ireland should also join the UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and enact a national space law.
Failure to do so would prevent Ireland in developing its space sector and result in reduced co-operation between other space focused countries.
Mayor of Cork County Cllr Declan Hurley said “the Councils Economic Development Unit will work hand in glove with industry to develop Ireland’s space hub.”
East Cork has its own area 51 with the National Space Centre based in Dungourney. The centre are the driving force behind the Blackrock Observatory in Cork City.
For the past number of years a growing amount of private space companies have entered the Space exploration market with the intention of building a space rocket and colonising other planets.
This is the second time the seminar is being held outside the United States.
Delegates from the USA, China, Canada, Australia and India were be among those to attend workshops over the nine week period.
Some of the lectures were open to the public and almost 9,000 bed nights were sold for the duration of the conference.
The seminar is estimated to have generated over €1.5million to the Cork economy and a further €250,000 in media value.
While the private space industry is booming the Irish Government intend on spending €300million on space activity over the next four years.
It’s expected the investment will create a further 600 high-value technology jobs in the Irish industry by 2020, with the number of home grown companies are likely to increase from 40 to 80 following the investment.
Currently the annual income from the sector is almost €80million. Globally the space economy is worth in excess of €300 billion. Last year’s event held in the Technion University, Haifa Israel, engaged with over 16million unique individuals across 73 countries during the 9 weeks.

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