Please give an overview of your sector?
The “space” sector in Ireland is quite varied and includes companies from many areas of technology. These include aerospace, structures, electronics, optoelectronics, software and bio-diagnostics. Irish industry is involved in a range of space systems development such as space launch vehicles, satellites and human spaceflight. Irish companies are suppliers to the large space system integrators in Europe and other markets
Ireland has been a member of ESA since 1975 and participates in a range of ESA Programmes including;
- Scientific Programmes
- Earth Observation Programmes
- Satellite Navigation Programmes (GALILEO)
- Space Transportation Programmes (Ariane V)
- Future Launchers programme (FLPP)
- Satellite Communications Programme, (ARTES)
- Space Science Experiments (PRODEX)
- European Life and Physical Sciences Programme (ELIPS)
- General Support Technology Programme (GSTP)
The industry addresses a range of markets in addition to the space market, for example, aerospace, telecommunications, and medical devices, etc.
Irish Space Capabilities
Irish companies have a track record in introducing highly innovative technologies to the space sector, in a range of technology domains including;
- Propulsions subsystems (regulators, valves)
- On board Software / Independent Software Validation
- Passive Optical Components
- Optics, Opto electronics
- Hi Reliability Electronic Components
- Advanced Composite Structures
- Microwave components /Radiometers
- Spaceflight avionics / Data acquisition and control Units
- Software development, Software tools
- Telecommunications systems
- Electronics / microelectronics
- Advanced User Segment systems
Companies in the sector include indigenous companies including SMEs, Start ups as well as a number of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) companies.
The sector tends to invest a high percentage of turnover in R&D (Research and Development). Over 60% of employees in this industry have primary or postgraduate degrees.
What is the size and scope of the sector?
What are the current issues affecting this sector?
The space programmes tend to be dominated by the Government programmes. The space sector is cyclical and appears to be approaching its peak cycle. However public investment in space systems is likely to be replaced by private investment so this cyclical pattern may change.
There are skill shortages in a number of highly specialised technology and scientific disciplines. These tend to be in areas of emerging and innovative technologies.
What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years
The sector is expected to grow steadily in Ireland over the next few years as the opportunities in the commercial space market continue to grow in Europe and the US. In addition to this, Irish companies continue to increase market share in the space business.
Do you have any statistics relevant to the sector?
The sector employs over 1,000 at present and it is estimated to grow to over 1,600 employees by 2014. Employment opportunities in this sector generally relate to engineering and science graduates, but there are also opportunities for graduates with degrees in finance, marketing and business development, etc.
Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?
There are requirements for highly specialised engineering and scientific employees specifically in highly specialised technology disciplines related to the space programme development, including electronics, optoelectronics, materials and structures.