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07th Nov 2023

Ireland’s first ever satellite is student-built and about to launch into space

Katy Thornton

ireland's first satellite

The satellite was built by students from the UCD School of Physics and the UCD College of Engineering.

Ireland’s first ever satellite is due to be launched into space this month, in one giant leap for the country’s space industry.

Built and developed by students from the UCD School of Physics and the UCD College of Engineering, the EIRSAT-1 satellite (Educational Irish Research Satellite 1) will travel to the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California where it will be sent into orbit on November 29th.

EIRSAT-1, which took six years to develop, is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Academy’s ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative, which supports university student teams in the development of their own satellites.

Manager of the UCD Centre for Space Research, Dr Ronan Wall, described the launch date as a “big moment” for the team.

“This departure of the satellite from Irish shores for the last time on the first step of its journey to orbit is a big moment for the team. EIRSAT-1 has had thousands of hours of work poured into it and we are ready to launch and operate the spacecraft for the benefit of science, training, and education in Ireland,” he added.

EIRSAT-1 satellite to carry out numerous experiments after launch

The Satellite will be launched into orbit later this month and it will carry out three experiments in Low Earth Orbit, where it will report data back to a command centre in UCD.

Speaking to Newstalk, Dr Wall explained the experiments in more detail:

“The first one is a gamma ray detector and that can tell you things about gamma-ray bursts,” he said.

“The second one is a material science experiment in which we are able to provide thermal control for a spacecraft – make sure that it stays hot when it needs to and cold when it needs to.

“Then finally, we have a control experiment – it is an experiment developed completely in UCD – to be able to point and orientate your spacecraft in a novel way that hasn’t been used before.”

This article originally appeared on JOE

Header image via Twitter / UCD & Getty


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