Some of the EIRSAT-1 team in June 2022
A team of students and professors at University College Dublin (UCD) is currently designing, building, and preparing to launch Ireland’s very first satellite. Through its development, UCD space science and engineering students have the opportunity to develop sought-after skills in the space industry and build Ireland's capability in space.
EIRSAT-1 is carried out with the support of the Education Office of the European Space Agency, under the educational Fly your Satellite! Programme.
After submitting a proposal for the ESA Education ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ call in March 2017, the EIRSAT-1 team pitched at a selection workshop in ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, and was selected as one of the missions that May.
The satellite’s GMOD and EMOD experiments and Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) were designed and manufactured at UCD. They had to be rigorously tested at several international facilities, including the ESA CubeSat Support Facility in Belgium. Test facilities and cleanrooms were also built in Physics and Engineering in UCD. All of the commercial off-the-shelf subsystems had to be inspected and tested before being accepted by the team, such as the solar panels, batteries and on-board computer.
During the pandemic, the team had to find creative ways to test the satellite remotely. For example, the ADM, along with a mock-up of the satellite body and detailed test preparation procedures were sent to the ESTEC ‘Hertz’ antenna-testing facility in May 2020. Because the antennas are made to operate in weightlessness, they needed supports to safely extend in Earth’s gravity – made of plastic to avoid any potential radio interference. For the same reason, a wooden support was designed to hold the mock-up satellite in place.
Two complete versions of the satellite have been built – the Environmental Qualification Model (EQM) and the Flight Model (FM). The EQM will remain in UCD to allow new students to become familiar with the hardware and for troubleshooting if problems arise with the FM in orbit.
Design Your Satellite!
Build Your Satellite!
Production & Functional Tests
Test Your Satellite!
Launch Your Satellite!
Launch Campaign & Launch
Operate Your Satellite!
Operations & Lessons Learned