17 November, 2011 :: Formal Plans that will use Elfordstown Earthstation’s 32m Antenna in a Space Debris detection programme,  and that will see Irish third level institutions work with the prestigious Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Fiztekh) across a range of Space and Physics related programs, were signed at the 8th Russian-Irish Joint Economic Commission, held in Moscow last week.

The Space Debris detection programme will operate in Elfordstown’s 32m Dish alongside the existing Deep Space Radio Telescope Schools Project.

The Irish delegation was led by Tánaiste Pat Rabbite, and the agreement, entitled ‘Road Map Fiztekh – Ireland’ was signed by Nikolai Kudryavtsev, President of Fiztekh, and Rory Fitzpatrick, National Space Centre, Ireland.

‘Road Map Fiztekh – Ireland’ outlines a programme of works, which sees University College Cork (UCC), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), and National Space Centre, Ireland collaborating with a number of Russian organisations led by Fiztekh.  Projects include:

Physics Education – Exchange of Expertise, Graduates and Information

  • The installation of VSAT [satellite] stations at UCC and CIT to facilitiate lectures and seminars by videoconference between CIT and UCC and Fiztekh, giving Irish students access to world leaders in the Physics field.
  • The exchange of data obtained from telescopes between CIT and Fiztekh.
  • Exchange of students and graduates between Fiztekh and UCC & CIT.

Space R&D – Small Space Objects Dectection Programme
National Space Centre will work with several Russian companies led by Fiztekh to deliver:

  • Precise radar measurements of small space objects using the 32m antenna at National Space Centre, Elfordstown.
  • The development of an integrated Earth observation system of space objects, using the 32m antenna at  National Space Centre, Elfordstown and a network of optical telescopes.
  • The exchange of data on dangerous space objects with European institutions.

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO National Space Centre, said “This is a great opportunity not just for our company, but for our educational institutions and for Ireland as a whole.  It represents real progress in an expanding Irish sector, and working with Fiztekh will both enhance skills and attract graduates to this high-end developing space sector.”