Ireland’s First Satellite Moves Closer To Launch

EIRSAT-1, developed by a team at UCD, is expected to launch from the ESA base in French Guiana later this year or in early 2023.

Ireland’s first satellite has moved a step closer to launch and is expected to reach space within the next few months.

EIRSAT-1, was designed, developed, built and tested at University College Dublin (UCD).

The launch window, from the European spaceport in French Guiana, is between mid-January and mid-February.

Dr David McKeown, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at UCD,  was engineering manager on the project.

EIRSTAT-1 stands for Educational Irish Research Satellite 1.

It will be launched 520km (323 miles) into the sky and will orbit the Earth for about five years before being returned to UCD.

Dr McKeown said: “When neutron stars and black holes collide, lots of energy comes out, goes across the universe.

“Our satellite will be able to detect this and help us better understand what is happening.”

The satellite was designed, developed, built and tested at University College Dublin (UCD)

When it started fived years ago, Dr McKeown said the main goal of the project was to simply build the satellite.

“It is really for the students, they have been able to develop, build and test the satellite which we hope can grow the industry in Ireland.”

With being the first satellite, the Irish government has to confirm it recognises EIRSAT-1 as an Irish mission, and intends to register the satellite on the UN Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

Dr McKeown hopes this will have “laid the ground work” for larger satellites in the future.

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