Cork man Cian O’Regan is going to space camp this summer to learn about the intricacies of the universe from experts in the field.
The Space Studies Program (SSP), which was held at Cork’s Institute of Technology (CIT) last year, accepts between 140 and 160 students every year from all over the world to attend six weeks of lectures from veteran astronomers, astronauts, physicists and engineers, among others.
This year the 31st annual Space Studies Program (SSP) is being held in the Netherlands from June 25 to August 24.
Cian, who is a third-year student at UCC studying Business Information Systems (BIS) and also works part-time at the Blackrock Observatory Castle, said he is delighted to be attending the elite course.
The tuition fees for the six-week program are €18,500, but thankfully the young student, 21, also secured a scholarship from the European Space Agency (ESA) for €10,000 and hopes to fundraise the rest over the coming weeks and months.
Applying for the in-demand course was tough going for the young space cadet, who said it took him several weeks to fill out the application form.
“It was fairly detailed, I had to provide information about my background, my interests and why I wanted to attend.” This is Cian’s first time applying to the course and he said he was inspired by helping out at last year’s SSP at CIT.
“I got to know a lot of the people involved in the program from working at Blackrock Castle and helping out. It looked so good, I thought I would be mad not to apply!” Cian said his interest in all things astronomy grew from a childhood spent visiting the Blackrock Observatory Castle.
“I have always been interested in space since I was six or seven, but I can remember in 2012 being at Blackrock Castle and getting to ask retired astronomer Dan Tani questions on a Skype call.”
Cian said since then he has wanted to work in the space agency. “I didn’t know how I was going to get involved for a while, I wasn’t sure if my BIS degree would be needed, but they need all sorts of people to run the space agency.”
The young space enthusiast said he would love to work with the ESA in the future.