Eirsat-1 Ireland’s First Satellite Created History in Space

Eirsat-1: Ireland’s inaugural satellite has been successfully placed into low-Earth orbit, allowing students across Ireland to learn about space science.

On December 1, Vandenberg Air Force Base successfully launched Educational Irish Research Satellite-1 into space. About an hour and a half after launch, its antenna erected itself to become fully functional.

Eirsat-1 has been operating smoothly since making contact with Earth on December 2. By December 4, the ground control system had successfully started receiving and uploading data from Eirsat-1 to it.

Eirsat-1, created by 50 students at University College Dublin (UCD), is currently in commissioning mode and set to go operational next month and collect science data.

David Murphy, a UCD Space Science postdoctoral research fellow working on Eirsat-1 since 2006, describes the thrill of witnessing its launch into space.

Murphy told Space.com it was truly incredible; watching launches online was one thing, but witnessing one firsthand and having your payload aboard an actual launch is entirely different. “We were completely captivated, and tears began flowing from us all!” “

What is Eirsat-1?

Eirsat-1, a CubeSat, is a tiny yet highly sophisticated Ireland first satellite. Only a little larger than a brick from home, its dimensions make it difficult for humans to access.

Equipped with three experiments – one dealing with radiation exposure, another dealing with temperature regulation in outer space, and a third showing how to point satellites in specific directions – Eirsat-1 has proven invaluable as part of the global scientific community.

Who Created It?

The Educational Irish Research Satellite-1 project was led by University College Dublin students and cost an incredible EUR 1.5 million;

Yet over 50 students participated, and 20,000 hours were dedicated to testing it! This astonishing bargain represented astonishing value when you consider all that went into it!

“For young students at UCD, seeing our Irish flag or UCD piece in the night sky will make them very proud,” UCD President Prof Orla Feely stated this week.

Fitting everything into such a limited space presents an incredible technical challenge. The area provides many students with their first exposure to science and engineering disciplines.

She noted that it was just the first step – in Neil Armstrong’s words – towards establishing an Irish space sector, and something even more significant would follow soon after.

Source: Google

What Is The Purpose And Use Of A Satellite?

First, we will train students on how to design and operate space missions, building knowledge and expertise within the Irish higher education sector.

Second, we aim to reduce the skills shortage in the space industry by encouraging collaboration between student teams and industry partners. This goal can be achieved through various partnerships.

Through an expansive outreach program, the ultimate objective of this mission will be to motivate new generations of students to study STEM subjects.

Eirsat-1: Meet The Experiments

Eirsat-1 features three primary instruments for investigation. Together, these will explore an array of topics and collect data that could provide answers to some of science’s most challenging problems while aiding future space missions.

Murphy noted that the ship carries three scientific payloads: the Gamma-Ray Detector Module (GMOD), Thermal Materials Experiment ENBIO Module(EMOD), and Wave-Based Control Algorithm(WBC).

GMOD detects high-energy electromagnetic radiation known as Gamma Rays that escape the Earth’s atmosphere.

Data collected by GMOD could help pinpoint their source, believed to be violent cosmic phenomena such as Supernovas (explosions caused when massive stars die), collisions of neutron stars or Black Holes or combinations thereof; approximately 10 Gamma Ray Bursts per year will be identified by GMOD.

Eirsat-1’s EMOD experiment is designed to test Thermal Surface Treatments such as SolarWhite and SolarBlack used by the European Space Agency Solar Orbiter mission close to the Sun but in low Earth orbit. The data that EMOD gathers will be instrumental in creating surfaces for spacecraft.

WBC is an experiment in which magnetic fields generated inside a spacecraft are used to interact with Earth’s magnetic field and control altitude.

Eventually, this technology may also be applied to control satellite rotation and travel on magnetic waves using low power consumption without moving parts.

Murphy estimated that Eirsat-1 will remain operational in its orbit for at least two and a half years.

“We will take advantage of this asset as long as it remains available, giving students hands-on experience using satellites,” said Mr. Coffin.

Bas Stijnen, a UCD PhD student on the Eirsat-1 project team, recently informed Space.com of Eirsat-1’s deployment at an orbit slightly lower than desired; this allows it to remain operational for four years until deorbiting occurs.

Eirsat-1 will only have a short lifetime due to being placed in such a low orbit, according to Stijnen, who estimated it would deorbit in three and a quarter or four years.

We won’t rush, but we must use every moment available to us now to do the science that interests us most.

Murphy stated that Eirstat-1 will likely leave its most incredible legacy through its influence on Irish education and industry.

Murphy concluded his address by noting, “Hopefully, this has inspired a generation to build their satellite and subsequent ones in Ireland – hopefully at universities throughout Ireland – showing them it can be done. “Hopefully, this marks only the start of ongoing space activities across Irish education and industry.”


2 thoughts on “Eirsat-1 Ireland’s First Satellite Created History in Space”

  1. “GMOD detects high-energy electromagnetic radiation known as Gamma Rays that escape the Earth’s atmosphere.”
    The Gamma Rays do not escape earths atmosphere. This sentence is totally irrelevant and wrong.

    “WBC is an experiment in which magnetic fields generated inside a spacecraft are used to interact with Earth’s magnetic field and control altitude. ”
    I suspect this should be control ATTITUDE, not altitude.

    I do thank you for the information on the current status of the satellite. I only hope it is correct.


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