Engineering Research Institute Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre (ERI VIRAC) of Ventspils University of Applied Sciences (VUAS) is a science education center specializing in the implementation of high-quality future research services in the field of space technology and signal processing.

The strategic goal of ERI VIRAC is to become a global provider of research services in the field of astronomy and space technology, to create an internationally competitive, balanced and sustainable team of researchers as well as an internationally competitive and demanding research infrastructure for science infrastructure.

The Irbenes radio telescope is equipped with two completely rotatable, parabolic antennas “RT-32” and “RT-16”.

Insight into history
  • VIRAC was founded on June 10, 1967, as a secret Soviet astronomy and communications center to spy communications in the west.
  • VIRAC, was founded by the Latvian Academy of Sciences under the name Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Center on July 22, 1994, when the State Commission from the Russian Federation took over from the former Soviet Union, at the time of the transfer, the Russian Federation’s military unit at Irbene, in the Ventspils region (military object “Star”).
  • Two years later, VIRAC was reorganized as a state-owned scientific non-profit organization, a limited liability company.
  • On December 16, 2004, VIRAC was included in the Ventspils University College (now Ventspils University of Apllied Sciences – VUAS) as the VUAS Scientific Institute, which was registered on November 25, 2005 in the Register of Scientific Institutions of the Republic of Latvia.
  • On March 1, 2010, VIRAC added a second VUAS scientific institute – the Engineering Research Center (IPC), replacing the name of the institute to the current one.
  • On March 18, 2010, the VIRAC as a VUAS unit was re-registered in the Register of Scientific Institutions of the Republic of Latvia.
  • In 2013, the VIRAC became a VUAS unit with its Scientific Council, whose activities are determined by the Senate of the VUAS.
  • In 2016, VIRAC was admitted to the European Radio Astronomy Observation Network (EVN) and Latvia – JIV-ERIC.