Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023
Ireland Prepares for Launch of First Satellite

A team of students from University College Dublin (UCD) is nearing completion of Ireland’s first satellite, named EIRSAT-1. Jack Reilly, a resident of Clogherhead, is among the 40 students involved in the project, which is part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) educational program. The satellite has been transported from Ireland to the Vandenberg Space Force base in California, where it is scheduled for launch at the end of the month.

EIRSAT-1 is a flagship project of UCD C-Space, the UCD Centre for Space Research, as well as the UCD School of Physics and the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The satellite was developed under the guidance of the ESA Academy’s “Fly Your Satellite!!” initiative, which offers university students comprehensive training and mentoring throughout the entire life cycle of a satellite program.

Jack Reilly, who holds a Master’s degree in physics, expressed his pleasure in working on the project. He highlighted the progression of the project, starting from the formation of the satellite team at UCD, followed by the construction of a clean room and the acquisition of necessary equipment. The team also focused on meeting the requirements for controlling the satellite. One of the planned experiments involves a thermal treatment experiment to develop surface treatments for spacecraft.

Jack Reilly will be traveling to California for the launch, after which he will return to UCD to assist in the preparation, control, and operation of the satellite in space. The project, which began in 2017, was endorsed by Professor Lorraine Hanlon and involved the contributions of up to 50 students.

The team has also received guidance and support from UCD alumnus Leo Enright, a renowned space expert. His expertise has contributed to the research and innovation being pursued at UCD in the field of space exploration.

Ireland’s progress in developing its first satellite marks a significant milestone in the country’s involvement in the space industry.