Our Team

Team Leaders, Academic and Industry Mentors

Lorraine Hanlon

Program Manager and Endorsing Professor

Lorraine Hanlon is a Professor in the UCD School of Physics. She completed her BSc and MSc in Experimental Physics in UCD and then moved as a Research Fellow to the Space Science department at ESTEC, where she  worked for 4 years as a member of the COMPTEL team. Her work on gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) observed by COMPTEL and other instruments on the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory led to her PhD in 1996. She joined the academic staff of the UCD School of Physics in 1997 and has continued to research gamma-ray bursts. She led the on-ground software analysis team for the Optical Monitoring Camera on ESA’s INTEGRAL satellite from 1995–1999. She is the Principal Investigator of the Watcher telescope which is operational in South Africa for over ten years. Her research interests also include developing new technologies for future gamma-ray instruments, under ESA contract.  Lorraine acts as the program manager for the EIRSAT-1 team, managing and coordinating the team and overseeing the project.

Ronan Wall - Team Leader

Ronan Wall is the Space Programme Manager at the School of Physics, UCD. He graduated with a BSc Mathematical & Experimental Physics [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.

David Murphy - System Engineer

David Murphy is a current PhD student 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 in UCD. David has worked extensively on CubeSats during his Masters and PhD, including the EduCube and developing GMOD. He has taken on the role of System Engineer for EIRSAT-1, providing technical support to the team and overseeing the design, testing and integration of each subsystem.

Sheila McBreen - Academic Advisor for GMOD

Sheila McBreen is a Associate Professor in the School of Physics. 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.

David McKeown - Academic Advisor for ADCS

David McKeown is an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in University College Dublin. 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.

William O'Connor - Academic Advisor for ADCS

William O'Connor is an Emeritus Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD. He lectured in Mechanics, Dynamics and Control. He currently has a post-retirement contract with UCD, supervising PhD and Masters students, and undergraduate research projects. His current research interests include control and active vibration damping of flexible mechanical systems; numerical modelling methods, particularly TLM (Transmission Line Matrix); waves and wave-structure interaction; and analysis and computation of non-linear magnetic fields and forces.


Recently he has been strongly focused on applying wave ideas to the analysis and control of under-actuated flexible structures, particularly in the aerospace sector. He was Principal Investigator for two contracts with ESA (European Space Agency), one on motion control of large space structures, the other on control of launchers with flexible structures and on-board sloshing liquid propellant.


Maeve Doyle - Operations and Software

Maeve Doyle is a current PhD student in the UCD Space Science group funded by the Irish Research Council. Her research focuses on the high-energy Universe, with a particular interest in Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs). She graduated in 2016 from Maynooth University with a BSc in Physics with Astrophysics. As a member of the EIRSAT-1 team, Maeve will work on GMOD and software development.

Rachel Dunwoody - ADCS

Rachel Dunwoody is a current MSc student in the UCD Space Science group and the UCD Dynamics and Control Systems group. She graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2018. She is currently working on the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) for EIRSAT-1. Specifically, she is helping to design and construct a functional rig that will be used in the testing of the attitude control system of EIRSAT-1.

Masoud Emam - ADCS

Masoud Emam is a MEngSc student in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD and is 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 currently, he is working on PIL/HIL simulation of EIRSAT-1. His research interests focus on synthesis, implementation, and performance analysis of different types of controllers and observers. 

Jessica Erkal  - Product Assurance

Jessica Erkal is currently studying in the star formation group in University College Dublin School of Physics as a PhD student.  She graduated from the Physics and Astrophysics course in Trinity College Dublin in 2016 and has just finished a Masters in Space Science and Technology at UCD. Through the Masters , Jessica got involved in the EIRSAT-1 project and until now she has worked on EMOD and payload interfaces, various requirements and documentation. She had the opportunity to travel to ESTEC for the Fly Your Satellite! Selection Workshop in May where she presented with members of the EIRSAT-1 team to a panel of cubesat experts and members of the ESA Education team. Jessica is currently working on comms, fracture analysis and product assurance for EIRSAT-1.

Joe Flanagan - Lead Engineer, EMOD

Joe Flanagan is a PhD student in Mechanical & Materials Engineering, UCD and is funded by the Irish Research Council. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering (2010-2014) in UCD. As part of the EIRSAT-1 team he is 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 is currently finishing his PhD 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 is 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.

Gianluca Fontanesi - Communications

Gianluca Fontanesi is a PhD student with the school of Electronics and Electrical Engineering. Gianluca received the B.Sc in Telecommunications Engineering and M.Sc degree 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 Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme. As a volunteer member of the team, Gianluca is working on the development and testing of the  EIRSAT-1 antenna module.

Andrew Gloster - Software

Andrew Gloster is a PhD student with the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics where his research focuses 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 is contributing to the onboard software required for EIRSAT-1.

Umair Javaid - Vibration

Umair Javaid is a research assistant in the school of Mechanical and materials engineering, UCD. He graduated with a BSc degree in computational Physics and 

has MSc degree in materials science and surface engineering. His research focuses on study related to thermoset composites with the responsibility of manufacturing and characterisation of thermoset composites. As a part of EIRSAT team, he is involved as a volunteer in vibration testing of EIRSAT assembly and individual parts. 

Favour Okosun - Structure and Test

Favour Okosun is a PhD student with Dynamical Systems and Risks Laboratory (DSRL) in the school of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, UCD. His research focuses 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 manages the structure and test team. This entails planning of tests and reporting on related progress, costs, resources and risks.

Conor O'Toole - Orbital Simulations


Conor O'Toole MSc. is a PhD student in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics and is funded by the Irish Research Council. He completed his undergraduate in Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin, followed by the MSc in Space Science and Technology at UCD. Conor is now beginning a PhD in gravitational wave physics in UCD this September. To date, he has worked primarily on orbital simulations of EIRSAT-1, developing our own in-house code for modelling the satellite's projected orbit and its evolution. This will allow us to ensure EIRSAT-1 complies with international regulations on space debris, as well as analyse the thermal and radiation environment the satellite will be exposed to in-flight. 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.

Rakhi Rajagopal – Antenna Deployment Module

Rakhi Rajagopal is a current MEngSc Research student in UCD School of Mechanical and Material Science Engineering funded by 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 focuses on the mechanical testing of Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) of EIRSAT-1.

Jack Reilly - Electrical Power Systems

Jack Reilly is a MSc student in the School of Physics at University College Dublin. He graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD in 2018. His work on EIRSAT-1 is primarily focused on the Electrical Power Systems, however he is also involved in the communications systems and ground segment development.

Joseph Thompson - ADCS

Joseph Thompson is a third year PhD student in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at UCD and is funded by the Irish Research Council. He graduated with a BSc in Engineering Science from UCD and an ME in Mechanical Engineering also from UCD. As part of the Dynamics and Control group in Engineering he is looking at the ADCS (Attitude Determination and Control System) for EIRSAT. This involves the modelling and simulation of the satellites orbital and attitude dynamics and the design of a preliminary attitude (orientation) control system.  Joseph has experience of working on an ESA contract on applying wave-based control theory to launch vehicles (rockets).

Lána Salmon - Ground Segment and Outreach

Lána Salmon is a current PhD student in the UCD Space Science group, specialising in Gamma-Ray Bursts and Gravitational Waves. She is funded by the Irish Research Council. She graduated in 2017 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD. As part of the EIRSAT-1 team, Lána leads the development of the ground radio station in UCD which will communicate with the satellite. She is also extremely passionate about communicating science, and therefore leads the outreach initiatives associated with EIRSAT-1. 

Daire Sherwin - ADCS

Daire is a PhD student in the school of mechanical and materials engineering in UCD. He graduated from Trinity college Dublin with a BEng in mechanical and manufacturing engineering. He is working on the attitude determination and control system (ADCS) for EIRSAT-1. With the others in dynamics and control group, he is developing 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 has been working on an ESA contract to apply wave-based control (WBC) to flexible launch vehicles and to create a software tool for this purpose.

Sarah Walsh - AIV

Sarah Walsh is a PhD student in the UCD Space Science group specialising in the proposed ESA X-Ray observatory ATHENA. She recently graduated with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science from UCD. Sarah will be contributing to EIRSAT-1 throughout her PhD, focusing on Assembly Integration and Verification.

Vikram Pakrashi - Structure and Vibration Analysis

Vikram Pakrashi is an Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering in UCD. He is the Director of Dynamical Systems and Risk Laboratory and his research focuses on vibrations and structural dynamics, including monitoring, control, rehabilitation and quantification of risk and consequences. His research has seen extensive applications in commercially relevant areas. His works involve a combination of modelling, monitoring and subsequent assessment of dynamical systems over time. Vikram works on vibration and structural dynamics in EIRSAT-1, along with contribution of Finite Element Modelling of structural systems. 

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