Our Team

Senior Team
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DAVID MURPHY

Systems Engineer

David Murphy is a post-doctoral researcher in the UCD Space Science group. He graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD and went on to complete an MSc by Research and a PhD funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) in UCD. David worked extensively on CubeSats during his Masters and PhD, including the EduCube and developing GMOD. As Systems Engineer for EIRSAT-1, he provides technical leadership and support to the team and oversees the design, testing and integration of each subsystem.

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JOSEPH THOMPSON

Chief Engineer

Joseph Thompson completed his PhD in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at UCD, funded by the IRC. He graduated with a BSc in Engineering Science from UCD and an ME in Mechanical Engineering also from UCD. As a post-doctoral researcher in the Dynamics and Control group in Engineering he is researching the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) for EIRSAT-1. This involves the modelling and simulation of the satellite's orbital and attitude dynamics and the design of a preliminary attitude (orientation) control system.  Joseph has experience of working on an ESA contract applying wave-based control theory to launch vehicles (rockets).

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MAEVE DOYLE

Lead Software Engineer and Operations

Maeve Doyle is an IRC-funded PhD student in the UCD Space Science group. Her research focuses on the high-energy Universe, especially Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and magnetars. She graduated in 2016 from Maynooth University with a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics. She has a Masters degree in astrophysics on the topic of magnetars.  As a member of the EIRSAT-1 system team, Maeve is the lead on-board flight software developer and is also heavily involved in developing the operational procedures for the mission.

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JACK REILLY

Test Engineer

Jack Reilly is a researcher in the UCD School of Physics. He graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2018 and an MSc in 2020. His recent work on EIRSAT-1 has been as test engineer, with a focus on the Electrical Power Systems, however he is also involved in building ground support equipment, communications systems and developing the ground segment.

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RACHEL DUNWOODY

GMOD Payload Specialist and Operations

Rachel Dunwoody is a PhD student in the UCD Space Science group. She contributes to the GMOD and Operations teams of EIRSAT-1. Rachel graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2018. She then completed her Masters in the UCD Dynamics and Control Systems group, where she worked on the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) for EIRSAT-1. Specifically, she helped to design and construct a functional rig that will be used in the testing of the attitude control system of EIRSAT-1.

Mission Team
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SAI KRISHNA REDDY AKARAPU

Ground Segment Support Engineer

Krishna is a current research Masters student in the UCD School of Physics. He graduated in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and has a Masters in High Voltage Engineering from Anna University, India. He joined the team as an Intern to work on the  Ground Segment and continues to work on it through his Research Masters. His areas of interest include Ground Segment, Model-Based Systems Engineering and CubeSat  Systems Engineering.

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LAURA COTTER

Testing and Operations

Laura is a current PhD student in the UCD Space Science group, focusing on Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and Supernovae. Her PhD is funded by the Irish Research Council and the UCD Thomas Preston PhD Scholarship Scheme. She graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2022. Laura is working on testing and operations for EIRSAT-1. In the future she plans to use GRB data from the satellite's GMOD detector to further her own PhD research.

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AARON EMPEY

Testing and Operations

Aaron Empey is currently studying within the Star Formation group in the UCD School of Physics as a PhD student. He graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2022. As part of the EIRSAT-1 team he is involved in the testing and operations of the satellite.

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GABRIEL FINNERAN

Testing and Operations

Gabriel Finneran is a PhD student in the UCD Space Science group. His research focusses on the link between supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. He graduated from UCD in 2020 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science. He is a member of the EIRSAT-1 operations team developing operational procedures and is also involved in testing the satellite to ensure it will survive in space.

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JOE FISHER

Testing and Operations

Joe Fisher graduated in 2022 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD. He is now a PhD student focusing on the development of future high energy space observatories through the use of simulations. This includes working on the proposed Athena X-ray telescope and EIRSAT-1.

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JOSEPH MANGAN

GMOD Payload and Firmware

Joseph Mangan is a PhD student in the UCD School of Physics. He did his undergraduate degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and has an MSc in Space Science and Technology. His PhD research is based on the design and testing of gamma-ray detectors for space applications. Joseph is responsible for the GMOD motherboard firmware which manages the instrument settings, processes the events, and passes them to the on-board computer.

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CAIMIN MCKENNA

Testing and Operations

Caimin McKenna is a student in the UCD School of Physics, and is currently completing an MSc by research. He is funded by the School of Physics through the Scholarship in Research and Teaching (SIRAT). Caimin graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2022. His main focus as part of the EIRSAT-1 team is on operations, although he is also working on other projects which build on the GMOD gamma-ray detector.

 

Is mac léinn sa Scoil Fisice COBAC é Caimin Mac Cionna. Faoi láthair, tá sé ag tabhairt faoi Máistreacht taighde, maoinithe ag an scoil tríd an Scoláireacht i Teagasc agus Taighde. I 2022 bhain sé céim amach san Fhisic le réalteolaíocht agus spáseolaíocht ó COBAC. Bíonn Caimin ag obair ar oibrochtaí satailíte EIRSAT-1, anuas ar a bhieth ag obair ar roinnt tionscadail eile a fhorbraíonn ar an mbraithadóir GMOD.

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BAS STIJNEN

Spacecraft ADCS

Bas Stijnen is a PhD Student in the UCD School for Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He completed his Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Space Flight at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. After his graduation, Bas worked on the first Dutch military satellite with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. After a successful launch and initial operational phase, Bas left the Air Force to join the EIRSAT-1 team and start his research on the ADCS aspects of the Nano-Satellite System Modelling project.

Academic & Professional Leadership
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LORRAINE HANLON

Endorsing Professor

Lorraine Hanlon is Full Professor of Astronomy at UCD and Director of UCD’s Centre for Space Research (C-Space). She did her undergraduate (BSc) and graduate (MSc and PhD) degrees in Experimental Physics and was a research fellow and an EU Human Capital and Mobility fellow at the European Space and Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, ESA’s establishment for space mission development. She joined the academic staff of UCD in 1996, serving as Head of the School of Physics between 2008 and 2011. Lorraine is currently Chair of ESA’s Astronomy Working Group and is a member of the ESA Space Science Advisory Committee. She also serves as science advisor to the Irish delegation to the ESA Science Programme Committee and is a member of the National Advisory Committee for the European Southern Observatory. She is a former trustee of the Royal Astronomical Society and former Chair of the ESA INTEGRAL Users’ Group. Her main research interests are in high-energy astrophysics, gamma-ray bursts, multi-messenger astronomy, robotic telescopes, and space instrumentation. As Endorsing Professor for EIRSAT-1, Lorraine has overall responsibility for the project.

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RONAN WALL

Team Leader

Ronan Wall is Programme Manager at C-Space. He graduated with a BSc Mathematical & Experimental Physics from UCD, an MSc in Radiation Physics (UCL) and a PhD in Nuclear Structure Physics (U of Manchester). As Team Leader for EIRSAT-1, Ronan's role involves the planning and implementation of work, organisation and selection of the suppliers, scheduling, and consultancy on mission design and space projects. His previous experience includes mission systems engineering in the space science group in Astrium for 10 years (now Airbus DS) and the initial project management of the UKube nanosatellite mission (1.5 years), and project management at Nammo Ireland.

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SHEILA MCBREEN

Science Lead & Academic Lead for GMOD

Sheila McBreen is a Professor in the School of Physics and gamma-ray detector theme lead at C-Space. She completed her PhD in 2004 on the subject of the prompt emission of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected with NASA's Compton Gamma-ray Space Observatory. After graduation, she worked as a Research Fellow in the European Space Agency (ESA) in The Netherlands and was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union to work at the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial physics (MPE) in Munich. While at MPE, she joined the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team and continues to be an active team member. The GBM is an instrument on NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Her interests include gamma-ray bursts, their afterglows and host galaxies, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and developing instrumentation for the next generation gamma-ray space mission. Sheila will lend her instrumentation knowledge to the EIRSAT-1 team as academic advisor for GMOD.

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DAVID MCKEOWN

Engineering Manager & Academic Lead for ADCS/WBC

David McKeown is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering aswell as Dynamics & Control theme lead at C-Space. He received his PhD from University College Dublin in 2009 and was the recipient of the IMechE Frederic Barnes Waldron Prize for his undergraduate studies. His current research is on vibration control of launch vehicles (rockets!) as part of European Space Agency’s Future Launcher Preparatory Programme. He has previously worked on the DELIAN Arm, a light flexible robot arm being designed for future ESA Mars rover missions and the control of a large space based X-ray observatory. David acts as the academic advisor for the Attitude, Determination and Control Systems (ADCS) subsystem of EIRSAT-1 and for the Wave Based Control (WBC) payload.

In his spare time, he likes to make and create new things and is an active in science communicator. He has spoken at TEDxUCD, Festival of Curiosity and Electric Picnic. He is the co-founder of community outreach events such Dublin Maker, Science Hack Day Dublin. He regularly collaborates with Irish artists on projects and runs an annual Christmas jumper making workshop for charity.

Academic Staff Contributors
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WILLI O'CONNOR

William O'Connor is Emeritus Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD. He lectured in Mechanics, Dynamics and Control. His research interests include control and active vibration damping of flexible mechanical systems; numerical modelling methods, particularly TLM (Transmission Line Matrix methods); waves and wave-structure interaction; and analysis and computation of non-linear magnetic fields and forces.

A special interest of his is the application of mechanical wave concepts to the analysis and control of under-actuated flexible structures, particularly in the aerospace sector. This is a new way to understand and control systems where flexibility is important. He was Principal Investigator for contracts between UCD and ESA, on motion control of large space structures, and on control of launchers whose structures are flexible and/or have dynamics strongly influenced by the sloshing of liquid propellant.

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ANTONIO MARTIN-CARRILLO

Antonio Martin-Carrillo is a UCD Ad Astra fellow/Assistant Professor in the School of Physics. He graduated with a BSc and MSc in Physics with Astronomy from University Complutense Madrid. Following 2 years working at the European Space Agency as part of the XMM-Newton space observatory calibration team, he moved to UCD where he completed his PhD investigating gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and pulsars. He is currently a member of the Space Science Group studying the transient Universe and in particular the prompt and afterglow emission of GRBs using high-energy space observatories and ground-based telescopes such as UCD’s Watcher robotic telescope. His research also includes the development of software tools for advanced data analysis. As such he is an ambassador and collaborator on the Astropy project aimed at providing a wide range of software packages written in Python for use in astronomy. He is also a member of the INTEGRAL multi-messenger group searching for gamma-ray counterparts to gravitational waves, neutrino events and other transient sources; the ATHENA X-ray space observatory and the THESEUS space telescope. Antonio is involved in EIRSAT-1 through graduate student supervision and transfer of scientific knowledge on the trigger and analysis of GRBs and magnetar transients.

Previous Team Members
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MASOUD EMAM

Masoud Emam completed his MEngSc in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD and was funded by the European Space Agency. He received his BSc. and MSc. in 2013 and 2018 in Electrical Engineering – Control from the QIAU, Iran. He was a member of Dynamic Control System lab. in QIAU and he worked on PIL/HIL simulation of EIRSAT-1. His research interests focus on synthesis, implementation, and performance analysis of different types of controllers and observers. 

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JESSICA ERKAL

Jessica Erkal completed her PhD in the UCD star formation group in the School of Physics.  She graduated from the Physics and Astrophysics Bachelor's degree in Trinity College Dublin in 2016 and then completed a Masters in Space Science and Technology at UCD. Through the Masters, Jessica got involved in the EIRSAT-1 project. She had the opportunity to travel to ESTEC for the Fly Your Satellite! Selection Workshop where she presented with members of the EIRSAT-1 team to a panel of CubeSat experts and members of the ESA Education team. Jessica leads on product assurance for EIRSAT-1.

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JOE FLANAGAN

Joe Flanagan completed his PhD in the School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, UCD and was funded by the IRC. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering (2010-2014) in UCD. As part of the EIRSAT-1 team he was the lead engineer for EMOD, responsible for the design of the payload, the implementation of the two thermal control and adhesion promotion coatings on the payload and integration with the CubeSat to record thermal readings during flight. Joe's PhD was focused on the Development of Novel CoBlast coatings in conjunction with start-up company Enbio Ltd. who have developed a novel blast coating technology known as CoBlast. This was mainly focused on developing adhesion promotion surface coatings to replace the incredibly harsh chromate conversion coatings currently used in the automotive, space and aerospace industries.

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GIANLUCA FONTANESI

Gianluca Fontanesi did his PhD in the UCD School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, having received the BSc in Telecommunications Engineering and MSc in Radio and Optical Transmission from Politecnico di Milano, Italy.  He commenced his PhD study in the RF & Microwave Group at UCD in October 2017 under the joint supervision of Prof. Anding Zhu and Dr. Hamed Ahmadi, funded by the IRC. As a volunteer member of the team, Gianluca contributed to the development and testing of the EIRSAT-1 Antenna Deployment Module.

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ANDREW GLOSTER

Andrew Gloster completed his PhD with the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics where his research focused on Computational Fluid Dynamics. He also has a MSc in Advanced Computational Methods for Aeronautics from Imperial College London along with a BSc in Theoretical Physics from UCD. Andrew contributed to the onboard software required for EIRSAT-1.

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JACK KYLE

Jack Kyle graduated in 2018 with a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.  He began working on EIRSAT-1 as an intern for his MSc in Aerospace Engineering.  As part of the software team, he contributed to flight software and ADM firmware.

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FERGAL MARSHALL

Fergal completed an MSc by research in the UCD School of Computer Science. He graduated in 2018 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD and in 2019 graduated with an MSc in Space Science and Technology. He began working on EIRSAT-1 through an MSc internship. His work on EIRSAT-1 focussed on the ground segment communication software.

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FAVOUR OKOSUN

Favour Okosun completed his PhD with the Dynamical Systems and Risks Laboratory (DSRL) in the school of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, UCD. His research focused on developing new vibration-based sensing technology for Structural Health Monitoring of pipes. Favour holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and has some experience working in Inspection and condition monitoring of engineering equipment. For the EIRSAT-1 project, Favour worked on the structural analysis, including planning of tests and reporting on progress, costs, resources and risks.

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CONOR O'TOOLE

Conor O'Toole did his PhD in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics, funded by the IRC. He completed his undergraduate in Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin, followed by the MSc in Space Science and Technology at UCD. He worked primarily on orbital simulations of EIRSAT-1, developing code to model the satellite's projected orbit and its evolution. Conor is interested in space science research, and has completed internships at the NASA Ames Resarch Centre, CA, and the European Space Agency's ESTEC Research Centre in The Netherlands, working on simulations of satellite networks for Near Earth Asteroid detection and software for modelling CubeSat payloads and platforms, respectively.

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RAKHI RAJAGOPAL

Rakhi Rajagopal completed her MEngSc in UCD School of Mechanical and Material Science Engineering funded by the European Space Agency. She graduated from Amrita Viswa Vidyapeetham, India with Bachelors in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Rakhi did her undergraduate project in University of New Mexico, USA in Robotics. Her research focused on the mechanical testing of Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) of EIRSAT-1.

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LÁNA SALMON

Lána Salmon completed her IRC-funded PhD on Gamma-Ray Bursts and Gravitational Waves in the UCD Space Science group in 2021. She graduated in 2017 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD. As a member of the EIRSAT-1 team, Lána worked on communications and the ground segment. She is also extremely passionate about communicating science, and led many of the EIRSAT-1 outreach activities.

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DAIRE SHERWIN

Daire completed his PhD in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD as an IRC-funded scholar. He graduated from Trinity college Dublin with a BEng in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. He worked on the attitude determination and control system (ADCS) for EIRSAT-1. With colleagues in the Dynamics and Control group, he developed a model to simulate EIRSAT-1’s attitude (orientation) dynamics and using this to design an attitude control system for the satellite. As part of his PhD, Daire also worked on an ESA contract to apply wave-based control (WBC) to flexible launch vehicles and to create a software tool for this purpose.

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SARAH WALSH

Sarah Walsh completed her PhD in the UCD Space Science group in 2021, specialising in the proposed ESA X-Ray observatory Athena and its capabilities for gamma-ray burst science. Prior to that she graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD. Sarah's contribution was primarily on Assembly Integration and Verification activities for EIRSAT-1.

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RABIN WILLIAM

Rabin graduated from the MSc in Space Science and Technology in the School of Physics in 2020. He graduated from Madras Christian College, India, with a Bachelors in Physics in 2019. Rabin got involved in EIRSAT-1 during his MSc. His work focused on the testing/validation of the onboard software parameters of EIRSAT-1. Rabin is now working with Irish space company Innalabs as a software engineer.

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NICHOLAS WONG

Nicholas Wong is a current PhD student in the UCD Atomic, Molecular, and Plasma (Spectroscopy) group. He graduated in 2019 with a BSc in Physics from University of Nevada, Reno. Nicholas began working with the EIRSAT-1 team through the "Studies in Physics" module within UCD's structured PhD programme. He contributed to the setting of onboard software parameters for testing purposes.

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UMAIR JAVAID

Umair Javaid was a research assistant in the School of Mechanical and Materials engineering having graduated with a BSc degree in Computational Physics and 

has an MSc in materials science and surface engineering. His research focuses on the study of thermoset composites with responsibility for manufacturing and characterisation of thermoset composites. He was involved as a volunteer in vibration testing of the EIRSAT-1 assembly and components.

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OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

Many other individuals and organisations have contributed to the EIRSAT-1 mission.

 

We are grateful for the excellent administrative and technical support we have received from the School of Physics and the School of Mechanical & Materials Engineering; for the support from College Principals in the College of Science and the College of Engineering & Architecture, and from the Office of the Vice-President for Research, Innovation & Impact. We are also grateful for the expert advice from the SIRG and Legal offices, and from across the whole University.

We appreciate the colleagues who have provided their technical expertise to the team, especially Dr. Alexey Ulyanov and Dr. Derek O'Callaghan.

As undergraduates in Physics, Serena O'Connor and Padraig McDermott supported on electronics for EMOD and on antenna designs for ground receipt of spacecraft signals.

The Phase A was supported in part by students from UCD's MSc in Space Science and Technology, including Paul Hedderman, Diarmuid Finnan, Stephen O'Connor, Aby Kalapura, Anand Mohandas, Kelvin Cardozo Martins, Liam Phelan and, later, by Meadhbh Griffin and Michael Kehoe. Shane Moran also supported this phase of the mission. Mechanical engineering undergraduate students Eoghan Somers and Paul Lynam supported on test equipment design, and PhD candidate Theo Mossop supported on a material analysis study. Victorio Úbeda and Jenna Rogge also contributed as mechanical engineering undergraduates.

We have benefited enormously from the support and expertise of many people at the European Space Agency (ESA), especially David Palma, Lily Ha, Alex Kinnaird and  Joost Vanreusel at ESA Education, Jean-Philippe Halain of the PRODEX office, and Brian Shortt of ESA's Future Missions Department.

We acknowledge the exceptional work by staff in Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), whose efforts have been instrumental in the implementation of EIRSAT-1 as Ireland's first satellite.

We have tried to capture all those who have made a contribution (up to Spring 2022) by laser engraving their names on a panel that forms part of the Antenna Deployment Module. Please see our Supporters page for more information.

Sincere thanks to everyone for getting involved and supporting the mission.