World Space Week (WSW) is the world's biggest annual space event. With so many people and countries joining the festivities our National Coordinators play an important role organising, advertising and running events for World Space Week. We're holding a series of interviews with out National Coordinators from around the world, so you can find out more about their roles and get some inspiration WSW events. First up is the team from Ireland.
The national coordination of WSW events in Ireland is a team effort, with several members of staff from Blackrock Castle Observatory (BCO) contributing to the celebration:
Dee Geaney – Marketing & Public Relations
Alan Giltinan – Systems & Instrumentation
Deirdre O'Dwyer – Front of House Co-ordinator
Frances McCarthy – Education & Outreach
Clair McSweeney – Facilities Manager
Dr Niall Smith – Founding Director
Ria O’Sullivan – Education, Research & Development
Why do you think World Space Week is important?
World Space Week motivates young people to get involved in science and space education and to follow-up that training into exciting careers. Institutions that are involved in space and science have the opportunity to be promoted and the week enables national and international cooperation towards a common goal.
What are the main challenges that your team has faced in its role as National Coordinator?
The island of Ireland is divided into two countries: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We have informal links but it can be difficult to work across border lines. It would be very exciting, however, to coordinate and promote more cross-border activities.
What was your highlight for World Space Week 2011 in Ireland?
On 5 October 2011, we held a rocket launch in association with the Irish Rocketry Society and a talk from NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough. We built 10 rockets at the Observatory and sent them to competition-winning schools to be decorated. On the day, each school brought their rocket and launched it 100m into the air. After a meet and greet with NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Ireland’s Space Correspondent, Leo Enright, the schools and pubic watched as the Irish Rocketry Society launched the ‘Big Fat Missile’ rocket 600m into the air.
What are your long-term goals for World Space Week in Ireland?
Our long-term goal for World Space Week in Ireland is to continue to promote an in science with simple activities that kids really enjoy. Working as a team to coordinate nationally has allowed us to make a greater impact by brainstorming ideas and sharing the workload. Participating in WSW gave us fantastic media coverage in the national news on television and in newspapers, so our goal is to continue to keep space in the media by growing Ireland’s participation and activities for World Space Week every year.
Image credit: CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory