The successful launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this week should be an important signpost for technology innovators here, according to a University of Ulster computer scientist with strong links to NASA.
Roy Sterrit, who recently met key space research leaders in the United States, believes space could be the new frontier for Northern Ireland technology.
The United Kingdom space sector is a growth area that continues to develop despite the current economic climate, he says. “Today's successful Endeavour space mission is a timely illustration of the potential for space research to be a field of rich endeavour for Northern Ireland technology.”
Mr Sterritt is a leading innovator in space exploration systems research who has collaborated with NASA scientists over the past eight years.
He said: “The 260 companies that are involved in the UK space sector have an annual turnover of £7.5bn. Northern Ireland has contributed much to the world as a birthplace of invention in engineering technology.
“The aerospace industry here continues to consolidate that reputation and its historic and contemporary success puts us in a prime position to grow and develop in the space sector.”Mr Sterritt lectures in Informatics in the School of Computing and Mathematics and is a member of the Computer Science Research Institute at Ulster.