Ireland’s space engineering industry will witness a significant milestone this year as their first satellite, Eirsat-1, is scheduled to be launched into space. The satellite is set to take off from a location in California on November 29th. As preparations are underway for the planned launch, Eirsat-1 has now departed from Irish shores for the final time.
Eirsat-1, a miniature cube satellite or cubesat, was initially proposed in 2017 as part of the European Space Agency’s “Fly Your Satellite” initiative, aimed at encouraging students to develop their own spacecraft. The development of this satellite at University College Dublin (UCD) has brought about the introduction of space systems engineering and expertise that was previously non-existent in Irish industry and academia.
While in orbit, Eirsat-1 will conduct three experiments before being returned to UCD for analysis of the data collected. This venture marks a significant moment for Ireland, as it has never had its own satellite before. Professor Lorraine Hanlon, director of Eirsat-1 and the UCD Centre for Space Research, expressed tremendous excitement for reaching this delivery milestone, acknowledging the hard work of the team as well as the support from the university, Irish government, and Irish industry.
Dr. Ronan Wall, manager of the Centre for Space Research, emphasized the significance of the satellite’s departure from Irish shores for the final step of its journey to orbit. After countless hours of work poured into Eirsat-1, the team is ready to launch and operate the spacecraft, benefiting science, training, and education in Ireland.
This launch signifies a major step forward for the Irish space industry, highlighting the increasing involvement and capabilities of the country in space engineering and research.