16/05/2008

Recruitment Programme Appealing For Irish Astronauts

Irish applicants have been urged to take part in the human spaceflight missions of the 21st Century with the launch of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The recruitment drive, looking for applicants across Europe, has been welcomed by Dr Jimmy Devins, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.

ESA is appealing to applicants across all 17 Member States - including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Ireland - and they will select at least four astronauts to reinforce its Astronaut Corps in order to successfully accomplish its present and future programmes of space exploration.

Minister Devins met Gerhard Thiele, ESA astronaut and head of the European Astronaut Corps, together with ESA special advisor Leo Hennessy, who were in Dublin yesterday to promote the recruitment drive.

Leo, who is Irish, was involved in recruitment at ESA for many years and played a part in ESA's last astronaut selection.

"Ireland has been a committed Member State of the European Space Agency for many years. Through ESA projects, Irish high-tech companies and researchers have been able to participate in leading edge space-related developments and further develop our knowledge-based economy. I welcome this opportunity for Irish men and women to apply for this challenging programme," Minister Devin said.

The Minister also met Leo Enright, chairman of Ireland Discover Science and Engineering programme which helped ESA with yesterday's Irish launch of the recruitment drive.

(JM)

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