Kildare TD meets Naas' own space man

Andrew is working on cleaning up space debris for the ESA

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare TD meets Naas' own space man

Kildare TD James Lawless, right, is shown around the facility

When Kildare TD James Lawless set off for a trade trip to the European Space Agency (ESA), little did he realise he would meet a Naas man working on solving the growing problem of 'space debris'.

While on a trade mission last week, Dep Lawless bumped into Andrew Wolohan from Morell.

“He is working on 'space debris' — literally cleaning up space,” said Deputy Lawless.

Mr Wolohan went to school in Naas CBS, then went to IT Carlow and ended up working on satellite technology in the ESA.

“His mission now is to work out how to remove all the excess parts from previous space missions that are potentially clogging up the orbit for future space travel.”

Andrew Wolohan from Naas, Dep James Lawless and Dr. Eamonn Daly from TUAM who works on radiation tracking in space.

Dep Lawless, the Junior Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, travelled to Noordwijk in the Netherlands to visit the ESA Technology and Research Centre.

“It was part of a trade mission with Minister Halligan and Enterprise Ireland and our group included over a dozen Irish companies who are heavily invested in space technology,” he said.

“Ireland was a founder member of ESA and has contributed engineering, scientific and technology projects to many space missions.

“Space is the ultimate test-bed and so many of these firms go onto 'spin-out' success when commercial applications inevitably follow.”

He said there are over sixty Irish companies involved in the space industry with 2,500 high skilled and high paid jobs in this sector within Ireland today.