About this event
What does it take to become an astronaut?
Does Ireland have ‘the right stuff’ to make the cut?
Will we ever have an Irish person in space?
In 1991, a woman and 3 men from our fair isle were excelling in astronaut training, paving the way for a whole new generation to believe that we can be a part of human space exploration. But the story doesn’t end there, and its time to re-tell the story that’s been 27 years in the making.
To celebrate Science week 2018, CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, and Dr. Niamh Shaw in partnership with Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) are delighted to present an event to reunite these 4 Irish Astronaut candidates for selection to the European Space Agency twenty seven years ago. And discuss Ireland’s rich legacy in the space industry- Past, Present and Future.
Because for three short months in 1991, we had 4 Irish people in astronaut training at the European Space Agency. This was our first and only hope for Ireland to have its very own Astronaut in Space. The European Space Agency were seeking 12 new astronauts for their human space programme. Over 340 people applied, and after a rigorous screening process coordinated by Enterprise Ireland, 4 people made the cut. We gave them a warm send-off on the The Late Late Show as they progressed to the next phase of the programme at ESA Astronaut Centre in Cologne.
But then, after a change in ESA’s human space policy, Irish involvement in the programme was cancelled and our 4 hopefuls were sent back home. As quickly as it began, the dream of an Irish astronaut was abruptly ended. The 4 candidates returned to their lives and disappeared from public view. As did their incredible story.
Niamh Shaw, scientist/engineer, communicator and space explorer has been searching for Irelands only astronaut candidates since 2014. For the last four years she has been trying to locate them, interviewing the Irish space community, government organisations and unsuccessful applicants of that 1991 selection programme. Desperate for help, she made a plea on Ireland’s leading radio show Ryan Tubridy in February 2018, where the public reached out and helped her finally locate them.
Re-united for the first time in twenty seven years, these four Irish astronaut candidates will share their story to Niamh and Dr. Niall Smith (CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory co-founder and Head of Research at Cork Institute of Technology). With archival footage, photography and media, the story of Ireland’s involvement in space past, present and future will be shared.
An engaging, warm and entertaining discussion is guaranteed with other guests from Ireland’s space industry joining our only ever Irish Astronaut candidates of 1991.
This event is free but booking is required.
A short reception follows the event.