Ireland is about to make its mark in the space industry with the launch of its first-ever satellite, EIRSAT-1, later this month. Developed by students from the UCD School of Physics and the UCD College of Engineering, the satellite will be sent into orbit from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on November 29.
EIRSAT-1 is a result of the European Space Agency (ESA) Academy’s ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative, which supports university student teams in building their own satellites. The project took six years to develop, and its launch date is being hailed as a significant milestone by the team. Dr Ronan Wall, Manager of the UCD Centre for Space Research, expressed excitement about the opportunity to contribute to science, training, and education in Ireland.
Once in orbit, EIRSAT-1 will carry out a series of experiments in Low Earth Orbit. These experiments will include a gamma ray detector to gather data on gamma-ray bursts, a material science experiment focused on thermal control of the spacecraft, and a control experiment unique to UCD that aims to explore a novel spacecraft pointing and orientation technique.
The satellite will transmit the collected data back to a command center at UCD. This breakthrough venture is expected to pave the way for future space exploration and research in Ireland.
The launch of EIRSAT-1 marks an important milestone for Ireland’s space industry, showcasing the country’s capabilities in satellite development. It opens up avenues for further scientific, educational, and technological advancements in Ireland’s growing space sector.