Throughout the year, ESERO Ireland and MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory, run a series of Space Career Roadshows in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland, and third-level partners. These roadshows will provide students with an excellent opportunity to engage with space industry professionals, and third level institutions, so that they can get a taste of the exciting opportunities that a STEM career in Space has to offer.
Our Engineers Week Roadshow took place on Thursday 10th March and the theme was the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which was launched on 25 December from the Guiana Space Centre in South America, as a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Speakers for the Engineers Week event were Dr John E Ward, space Product Manager at Irish start-up company Réaltra Space Systems Engineering and Giovanna Giardino, an instrument scientist at the European Space Agency. Scientists and Engineers at Réaltra designed and manufactured the video system mounted on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle for the JWST. The system relayed high-definition video images of the launcher’s fairing and of the telescope separation as it headed on the journey towards its final orbit location. Since 2010, Giovanna has been working on the NIRSpec instrument, the European Spectrograph on board of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that was launched on 25 December 2021.
The event was hosted by the incredible Dr Niamh Shaw who gave us an overview of the JWST mission and you can see that in the link below.
Our roadshows showcase the incredible diversity of careers that are available in the space industry. Astronauts, scientists, engineers, artists, and countless other professionals will show you what their dream job entails, and the path you can take to follow in their footsteps.
You can watch videos from our Engineers Week Roadshow
Introduction to ESERO Ireland and the space resources for schools – Stephanie O’Neill
Overview of the JWST Mission – Dr Niamh Shaw
John E Ward Réaltra Space Systems Engineering – John E Ward
Giovanna Giardino, European Space Agency – Giovanna Giardino
You can view our Science Week Roadshow from 18th November here.
John E Ward is a Space Product Manager at Réaltra Space Systems Engineering, he has a PhD in experimental astrophysics from UCD and has carried out post-doctoral research for over six years working on ground-based gamma-ray telescopes in Arizona and La Palma, as well as cosmic-ray balloon experiments launched from the Swedish Arctic and Antarctica.
After his career in academia, JohnE worked as an applied physicist and business developer at a space start-up in Barcelona Spain which launched two nanosatellites as part of a constellation for Earth Observation, M2M communications, and aircraft tracking.
At Réaltra one of JohnE’s main roles is as project manager of the Independent Video Kit (VIKI), a camera system for launchers which recently flew on the Ariane 5 that launched the James Webb Space Telescope. Other roles include senior systems engineer for the ESA PLATO mission, and involvement in R&D projects including wireless communications for launchers and machine-learning applications in space.
He is passionate about growing the space industry in Ireland and supporting young scientists and engineers who wish to pursue a career in space here.
After my graduation, I was awarded a Human Capital Mobility grant from the European Commission to study at the University of Manchester where I gained a Master in Radio Astronomy followed by a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Milano. I joined the European Space Agency in 1999 as a Research Fellow in the Science Directorate working on modelling of the galactic emission in the context of the cosmological studies to be carried out by the Planck satellite. I remained at the ESTEC center and continued to support the development of the Planck mission till its launch in 2009. Since 2010 I have been working on the NIRSpec instrument, the European Spectrograph on board of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on 25 December 2021.