Irish scientists join the space race at ESA

Eoin O’Neill and Eoin Tuohy
Eoin O’Neill and Eoin Tuohy

UCD graduates relocate to Germany for AI, mission exploration projects

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15 October 2019 | 0

Two Irish scientists have been selected to join the traineeship programme at the European Space Agency (ESA) following a competitive national process.

UCD graduates Eoin O’Neill and Eoin Tuohy (pictured) will join ESA centres in Germany to work on cutting-edge projects in space science; Earth observation; telecommunications; navigation; mission control and operations; and human spaceflight.

O’Neill will join the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany on a project focusing on artificial intelligence and data analytics for space operations. The team are developing prototypes and novel applications to support space operations tasks, such as early detection, diagnostics, forecasting and planning, using AI technology.

ESOC serves as the main mission control centre for ESA and is home to the engineering teams that control spacecraft in orbit, manage the global tracking station network, and design and build the systems on the ground that support missions in space.

“I’ve always been passionate about space, so the chance to be a trainee at the European Space Agency is a fantastic opportunity both personally and professionally,” said O’Neill. “It will be the beginning of what will hopefully be a long career in the space industry, and I hope that I will be able to contribute what I learn during my time as a trainee to the Irish space industry in the future.”

Eoin Tuohy will join the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, focusing on the Spaceship EAC project and future missions. The team are developing technologies and concepts for future human mission exploration on the Moon and beyond low Earth orbit.

“This traineeship is such a wonderful opportunity for me. I will get to work with leading researchers throughout ESA as well as gaining valuable insight into the field of human spaceflight,” he said. “I also hope to use this traineeship to gain the knowledge and experience that will help me to inspire Irish students to pursue careers in the space sector and explore what the space industry in Ireland has to offer.”

The Irish Research Council and the ESA first partnered in 2016 to give local science and engineering graduates a chance to make their mark in the field of space exploration.

Irish Research Council director Peter Brown said: “This traineeship offers the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in Europe’s gateway to space. The Council is committed to supporting Ireland’s contribution to Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to Ireland and Irish research. We are delighted to support both Eoin O’Neill and Eoin Tuohy as they embark on these exciting projects.”

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