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  • CubeSats being launched from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/CC

ESA Green Light for Ireland’s First Satellite

Jun 14 2017 Comments 0

Education Irish Research Satellite (EIRSAT-1), a collaborative space project developed by students and staff of University College Dublin (UCD) and Queen’s University Belfast, has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in its Fly Your Satellite! educational programme for university students.

Subject to EIRSAT-1 passing ESA’s stringent requirements, the satellite will be delivered to the International Space Station and launched into orbit in 2019 to gather data for approximately 12 months. It will be managed and controlled from a ground station in the UCD School of Physics University College Dublin, with commands uplinked via UHF radio and data downlinked via VHF radio from the spacecraft.

Involving collaboration across the whole of Ireland between student teams, higher education institutions and high-tech companies, EIRSAT-1will enable participants to develop know-how in space science and engineering and address skills shortages in the space sector. A key objective of the mission is to inspire the next generation of students to study STEM subjects, through an outreach programme developed in partnership with Blackrock Castle Observatory/CIT.

The project is supported by industrial partners including Resonate Testing, ENBIO, SensL, Parameter Space and Moog Dublin.

“As Ireland has never launched a satellite of its own this mission represents a first for the island of Ireland and a giant leap for the Irish Space Sector and will be of enormous interest to the entire community,” said the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D.

Professor Lorraine Hanlon from the UCD School of Physics, the lead Professor on the project said “this success has been made possible through sustained support from Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland and ESA, combined with a team of outstanding students at undergraduate and graduate level in space science, physics and engineering, who will have to work extremely hard to pass the ESA reviews and make the dream of this satellite mission come true.”

“Our students will have an amazing opportunity to learn, not only from the wealth of expertise at ESA, but also from the other excellent teams participating in the programme from across Europe. This hard work will prepare them very well for future careers in the space sector,” Professor Hanlon added.

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