Tues. Oct 8th from 6pm (sharp) to 7:30pm in the Elfordstown Earthstation, Midleton, Cork —

Map: Elfordstown Earthstation

The Business Briefing theme is:

Explore the opportunities for R&D, Manufacturing and Services derived from Space 4.0

Space 4.0 is analogous to, and is intertwined with, Industry 4.0, which is considered as the unfolding fourth industrial revolution of manufacturing and services. Space 4.0 represents the evolution of the space sector into a new era, characterised by a new playing field. This era is unfolding through interaction between governments, private sector, society and politics, it is a time when space is evolving from being the preserve of the governments of a few spacefaring nations, to a situation in which there is the increased number of diverse space actors around the world, including the emergence of private companies, participation with academia, industry and citizens, digitalisation and global interaction.
To meet the challenges and to proactively develop the different aspects of Space 4.0, the European space sector can become globally competitive only by fully integrating into European society and economy. This requires a sustainable space sector closely connected with the fabric of society and economy. For this to happen, space must be safe, secure and easily and readily accessible, and built on a foundation of excellence in science and technology – broadly and continuously over time.

We are pleased to have two eminent speakers to talk with us on this subject:

Rory Fitzpatrick
CEO, Elfordstown Earthstation

Rory is CEO of National Space Centre Ltd. National Space Centre is a private company supported by Enterprise Ireland, and was set up in 2010 to redevelop Elfordstown Earthstation, and to re-launch Elfordstown as a world class carrier grade commercial teleport and centre of excellence for space research. Rory was born in Cork and educated at Christian Brothers College, Cork. He finished school in 1985 in the midst of the last major economic collapse in Cork and emigrated to the UK. He returned to Ireland and in 2010 Rory, at the helm of National Space Centre, took over the running of Elfordstown Earthstation from Eircom. As part of an €11.5m investment in Irish broadband infrastructure, National Space Centre is contracted to supply Eutelsat with uplink and downlink services as part of their new 8 gateway European broadband network. Rory was a founder member and first Chairman of Solaris (the Alumni Organisation to support companies on completion of the Genesis Incubation program run by CIT & Enterprise Ireland).

US launch provider Rocket Lab successfully reached orbit in Jan 2018 with the test flight of its second Electron orbital launch vehicle ‘Still Testing’ deploying 3 client satellites safely into space. The separation of the payload from the rocket was remotely tracked and monitored from Elfordstown Earthstation in Cork. This is the first time a satellite orbital insertion has been monitored from Irish based infrastructure. The Electron rocket lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 14:43 NZDT (1.43GMT) on Sunday 21 January 2018, reaching orbit and deploying customer payloads 8 minutes and 31 seconds after. Rocket Lab’s Electron is poised to be the first commercially bookable rocket built specifically for small payloads and reducing the current reliance on ‘piggy-backs’ from big rockets delivering big payloads into space. and we are delighted Rocket Lab chose Elfordstown as part of their key launch infrastructure.
Securing the Rocket Lab ground segment contract has been another major step in developing our carrier grade teleport at Elfordstown Earthstation.” This is Rocket Lab’s second Electron test.
Following the successful first test in May 2017 which launched the rocket itself, the company moved on to this test delivery of 3 weather, nautical and earth imaging satellites. “Today marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. We’re thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch,” says Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck. “Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented.”

Small satellites are a huge growth area with around 3,500 small satellites (under 100kg) expected to launch in the next decade.

Dr Niall Smith
Head of Research at CIT and Head of CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory

Niall studied astrophysics at University College Dublin and graduated with his PhD in 1990. He lectured in the Department of Applied Physics & Instrumentation in Cork Institute of Technology for 18 years before becoming the Institute’s first Head of Research in 2005, now providing strategic oversight of a budget of 14m per annum across disciplines from science and engineering to arts and music. Niall is the Founder-Director of the internationally award-winning Blackrock Castle Observatory which has just celebrated its 12th anniversary and over 1.2 million visitors.

In 2017, he was the host Director for the International Space University Space Studies Programme which is the largest conference programme ever to come to Cork, lasting a total of 9 weeks and involving over 320 global space experts. Niall s research focuses on space topics including uses of small satellites in low earth orbit for a wide range of functions from imaging to broadband.
He is a member of the National Steering Group for Space Strategy for Enterprise with their report which has been published and is available at

Niall recently presented updates on Ireland’s involvement in the rapidly evolving global space industry at a European Parliament briefing. In that briefing, Dr Smith explained why now is the time for Ireland to work closely with our European friends to use space to solve some of the biggest societal challenges of our time.

We will conclude our briefing with a small panel discussion discussing ways forward member companies might engage and develop their businesses in this new Space 4.0 era

Some Links of interest which will be discussed in our briefing:







We wish to express our sincere thanks to Rory & Niall for taking the time from their busy schedule to attend and present to us on Oct 8th and to Rory for agreeing to host the event at his location.

This will be a well-attended briefing, places are limited, so please register attendance asap.

Let us know if you and/or others from your organisation will attend by registering at info@ceia.ie

There will be refreshments provided at the event to facilitate networking.