Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre
Ventspils University College, established in 1997, is a national higher education and science institution.

The Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre of the Ventspils University College Institute of Engineering (IE VIRAC), according to Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia Order No. 820 of 26 October, is the legal successor to the national non-profit organisation SIA Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre, and according to the decision of Ventspils University College (VUC) Senate of 24 February 2010 No.10-21, the legal successor of the Ventspils University College Institute of Engineering as well. On 18 March 2011, Dr. Chem. Valdis Avotiņš, the former IPC director, was elected the Director of IE VIRAC. IE VIRAC is managed by the Scientific Council (SC) and the director. On 18 March 2010, IE VIRAC was registered as a structural unit of VUC in the Register of Scientific Institutions of the Republic of Latvia.

Strategic goal

The strategic objective of IE VIRAC is to become a global provider of research services in the fields of astronomy and space technology; to establish an internationally competitive, balanced, and sustainable team of researchers; to establish an internationally competitive and in-demand scientific infrastructure research complex. The main directions of IE VIRAC activity are:

  • fundamental research in astronomy and astrophysics
  • applied research in the field of space technology
  • high-performance computing
  • applied engineering electronics research

Strategy of the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre of the Ventspils University College Institute of Engineering for 2016-2020

For more information

Tours of the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre

The Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre is located in Irbene, a former town of the Soviet army, and its owner is the Ventspils University College Institute of Engineering. The fully rotating 32-metre parabolic RT-32 antenna, which is the largest antenna in northern Europe and the eighth largest in the world, and another 16-metre RT-16 antenna remain operational here and are used for scientific purposes. Both antennae were restored in the summer of 2015.


Parabolic antennas are used for observing interstellar environmental objects, solar radio observations, asteroids and Earth-like artificial bodies, including radio locations of cosmic debris, in particular large base interferometry observations following objects outside the solar system.


  • A walk through the Irbene territory around the RT-32 and RT-16 telescopes.
  • Examination of the RT-8 with the possibility to climb to the top of the object to experience a view of Kurzeme.
  • A walk through the underground tunnel.
  • A visit at the F. Canders memorial space in the Kristāls building.


  • Adults EUR 4 per person
  • Children, including pupil excursions, in the company of an adult EUR 1.5 per child
  • Families (2 adults, 1 child up to 10 years of age) EUR 8
  • For every additional child up to 10 years of age a family pays EUR 1.00
  • The minimum price for one booked tour is EUR 10.00, and for an unbooked tour EUR 30.00
  • Groups pay an additional EUR 10.00 for each tour that has not been booked in advance (at least three days prior) and is not confirmed by a VIRAC representative.


Tours take the form of a guided tour (in Latvian, English, or Russian) by prior appointment if tickets purchased reach the minimum sum of EUR 10. To book a tour, send an email to or call 29230818 (workdays only) or 26413925 (holidays).


  • Tours only take place in the form of a guided tour.
  • Visitors must follow employees’ instructions.
  • The tour takes place if tickets for a minimum sum of EUR 10 are purchased for a tour booked in a timely manner; the minimum price of an unbooked tour is EUR 30.
  • Duration of the tour is one to one-and-a-half hours
  • When leaving for the tour, at the request of the guide, tourists are to leave their mobile phones and other devices that broadcast radio wave signals in the Kristāls building; the devices are returned when the tour ends.
  • Tours must be booked in advance.
  • Guides can carry out unbooked tours on-call (arrival time 30–40 min) for additional payment (EUR 10); guides can be contacted by calling +37126413925.

For more information, see


  • Latvian
  • English