A Mayo woman who works for a space research company in Dublin is set to become Ireland's first astronaut.

Dr Norah Patten, who is originally from Ballina but now lives in the Dublin and works for Realtra Space Systems Engineering in Coolock, is due to take part in the space mission in 2026.

According to RTE, she is part of a team being sent by the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) to advance scientific knowledge on supporting life in space and follows on from a similar mission the Institute carried out last year.

Dr Patten, along with two other researchers from the US and Canada, will undertake the mission on Virgin Galactic's second generation of spacecraft, known as Delta, during the first year of its operation.

The commercial space flight will be less than two hours long and is sub-orbital, meaning that it will travel to and from space without going around the earth.


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