Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
EIRSAT-1: Irish Student-Led Space Mission to Showcase Payloads

EIRSAT-1, a 2U CubeSat, is a European Space Agency (ESA) project led by students at University College Dublin (UCD). The satellite’s main objective is to provide an in-orbit demonstration of three Irish-developed payloads.

The first payload is GMOD, a scintillator-based detector developed at UCD. GMOD aims to detect gamma-ray bursts and assess the technology’s capability for future gamma-ray missions, such as studying stellar explosions resulting from the collision of two stars.

The second payload, EMOD, is a demonstration of thermal control coatings developed by the Irish company ENBIO. EMOD will perform the first low Earth orbit measurements on the performance of novel surface treatments like SolarWhite and SolarBlack.

The third payload, WBC, involves an attitude control algorithm developed at UCD. It aims to test the algorithm’s viability as an alternative to standard attitude determination and control methods. While it has been applied in simulations and flown in parabolic flights, this will be its first time being tested in space.

Aside from showcasing these payloads, a major goal of the EIRSAT-1 mission is to inspire the next generation of Irish students to pursue STEM subjects. The project includes an extensive outreach program to achieve this objective.

EIRSAT-1 is anticipated to launch by the end of November and is expected to have a mission lifetime of 9-24 months. More information about the satellite’s 437.100 MHz beacon can be found on GitHub. Updates on the project’s progress towards launch can also be followed on its Twitter account and official website, www.eirsat1.ie.

The preparatory testing for EIRSAT-1 was conducted at the European Space Agency’s Hertz antenna test chamber in Noordwijk, Holland, in 2020. The mission is carried out with the support of the Education Office of the European Space Agency under the educational Fly your Satellite! Program.