Built at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland’s first-ever satellite, EIRSAT-1, will be launched into orbit on a Space X Falcon 9 rocket later in November 2023.
EIRSAT-1 is Ireland’s first-ever satellite. Designed, built, and tested by students at UCD, the Irish satellite left Irish soil for the last time as preparations are underway for its launch later this month in California.
The satellite was designed as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Fly Your Satellite! Programme.
Now, it’s on its way to the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. From here, it will be sent into orbit on 29 November on a Space X Falcon 9 rocket.
Ireland will launch its first satellite into space this month – an exciting collaboration with UCD and ESA
UCD said in a statement on 7 November that the EIRSAT-1 satellite is a flagship project of UCD C-Space, the UCD Centre for Space Research, the UCD School of Physics, and the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
The creation of EIRSAT-1 comes as part of the ESA Academy’s Fly Your Satellite! programme, offering university students from ESA Member States training, space-expert mentoring and hands-on guidance throughout the life cycle of a professional satellite project.
The organisation offers everything from design to building, tests, launch, and operations. ESA provided the launch opportunity that is impending.
EIRSAT-1 – Ireland’s first-ever satellite
EIRSAT-1 was selected by ESA for the Fly Your Satellite! Programme in 2017. The design and creation of the miniature club satellite, or CubeSat, has seen the introduction of space systems engineering and skills never seen before in the Irish industry or academia.
Professor Lorraine Hanlon, Director of EIRSAT-1 and the UCD Centre for Space Research, said, “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 industry”.
As an educational research satellite, EIRSAT-1’s six-year development has created training opportunities for students in all key aspects of satellite development.
The launch – history in the making
For the launch later this month, EIRSAT-1 will carry three experiments into Low Earth Orbit. It will report any data back to a command centre at UCD.
Dr Ronan Wall, Manager of the Centre for Space Research, said, “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 Ireland”.
As well as programmatic and educational support from the ESA Education Office, EIRSAT-1 has also received funding from Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Enterprise Ireland, UCD, Openet, and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
So, keep your eyes peeled for key and exciting updates and more information here.