Ireland is set to make history as it joins the space race with the launch of its first-ever satellite, EIRSAT-1 (Educational Irish Research Satellite 1). The satellite, nicknamed ‘Spudnik’, is scheduled to be launched at the end of the month at a cost of €1.5 million. Scientists from the University College Dublin (UCD) have been preparing for this milestone since 2017.
UCD’s Centre for Space Research, led by Professor Lorraine Hanlon, expressed their excitement about the project, stating that Ireland has never had a satellite before. The team has received tremendous support from the university, the Irish government, and Irish industry.
The satellite will carry out three experiments in space, marking a significant achievement for the country. Last year, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signed papers with the European Space Agency (ESA) to facilitate the launch. The ESA is funding the project, with additional funds from the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Department of Enterprise.
The team, currently in California, USA, is finalizing preparations for the launch, which will take place at the Vandenberg Space Force Base on November 29. The satellite was designed, built, and tested at UCD as part of the European Space Academy’s Fly Your Satellite initiative.
EIRSAT-1 is a crucial step for Ireland’s space exploration ambitions and offers valuable opportunities for university-level students to gain experience and training in the field of satellite projects. The successful launch of the satellite will mark a significant milestone for Ireland’s presence in space technology.
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