Ireland’s first satellite EIRSAT-1 has left Ireland for the last time as preparations begin for a planned November launch in North America.
‘EIRSAT-1’ stands for ‘Educational Irish Research Satellite’ and it was designed, built, and tested at University College Dublin in the framework of the ESA Academy educational programme for university-level students by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The satellite is en route to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California from where it will be sent into orbit.
A flagship project of UCD C-Space, UCD’s Centre for Space Research, the UCD School of Physics and UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, EIRSAT-1 (Educational Irish Research Satellite 1) is Ireland’s first satellite.
EIRSAT-1 is in particular part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Academy’s ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative, which offers university students the training, space-expert mentoring and hands-on guidance throughout the entire life cycle of a professional satellite project; from design to building, tests, launch and operations. ESA also provided the launch opportunity now coming up.
Its development at UCD has seen the introduction of space systems engineering and skills that have not previously existed in Irish industry or academia.
Ireland has never had a satellite before and we are tremendously excited to reach this delivery milestone which is a tribute to the hard work of the team, and the support of the university, the Irish government and Irish industryProfessor Lorraine Hanlon, Director of EIRSAT-1 and the UCD Centre for Space Research
EIRSAT-1’s six-year development has provided training for students in all major aspects of satellite development which was a shared education objective by both UCD and ESA.
For its November launch, it will carry three experiments into Low Earth Orbit and will report data back to a command centre at UCD.
Alongside the GMOD experiment to detect gamma rays, the satellite’s other payload includes a novel attitude control system designed by the Dynamics and Control Group in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, as well as an in-orbit demonstration of a protective coating technology developed in Ireland by UCD and Enbio Ltd.
This departure of the satellite from Irish shores for the last time on the first step of its journey to orbit is a big moment for the team. EIRSAT-1 has had thousands of hours of work poured into it and we are ready to launch and operate the spacecraft for the benefit of science, training, and education in IrelandDr Ronan Wall, Manager Centre for Space Research
Find out more on the EIRSAT-1 website here.