In Ireland’s space races while the government approves next year’s launch of the satellite

IRELAND is officially entering the space race – with plans to launch the first-ever home-built satellite next year.

The EIRSAT-1 satellite was designed, developed, built and tested at University College Dublin.

Ireland's first satellite, EIRSAT-1, is a miniature cube satellite designed and tested by a team at UCD

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Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1, is a miniature cube satellite designed and tested by a team at UCD
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, signed exchange letters with the European Space Agency and a registration and monitoring agreement with UCD for Ireland's first satellite EIRSAT-1

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, signed exchange letters with the European Space Agency and a registration and monitoring agreement with UCD for Ireland’s first satellite EIRSAT-1
UCD PhD students Gabriel Finneran and Maeve Doyle celebrated after the government signed exchange letters with the European Space Agency

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UCD PhD students Gabriel Finneran and Maeve Doyle celebrated after the government signed exchange letters with the European Space Agency

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Economy, Employment and Retail Damien English have signed an exchange of letters with the European Space Agency to facilitate the launch of the satellite.

This is a historic milestone in Ireland’s first space mission, which will see the launch of EIRSAT-1 for a four-year mission from ESA’s French Guiana base early next year.

The exchange of letters between the Irish Government and the European Space Agency sets out their mutual understanding of the EIRSAT-1 mission, the first Irish mission to operate under Irish jurisdiction.

The Tánaiste said: “This is a big moment for the Irish space sector as this is Ireland’s first mission into space. It has huge spin-off potential for Irish companies and universities.

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“We have increased our financial contribution to the European Space Agency, which is being repaid multiple times in the form of contracts with Irish aerospace companies.

“Lead by a talented team at UCD, EIRSAT-1 has witnessed the development of space systems capabilities not previously existing in Irish industry or academia.

“It will position our nation to benefit from the global growth of the space industry for decades to come.”

here AOIFE BANNON reveals everything we know about the satellite so far.

Most read in The Irish Sun

What exactly is EIRSAT-1?

First announced in May 2017, EIRSAT-1 is a mini-cube satellite.
It was built, tested and designed by a team of students and professors from University College Dublin (UCD).

EIRSAT-1 stands for Educational Irish Research Satellite 1 and is a flagship project of the UCD Center for Space Research.

A poem about home and the universe – a collaboration with Junior Cert libraries, DEIS schools and UCD’s English department – is also engraved on the satellite.

Why is Ireland sending a satellite into space?

Students at UCD have not only made history through their development, but also the opportunity to develop coveted skills in the industry.

In space, EIRSAT-1 will detect and record bursts of gamma rays using a detector developed by UCD’s Space Science Group.

It will also test a new attitude control system – which helps orient and position a spacecraft – developed by the Dynamics and Control Group at UCD, and test the performance of protective coatings made by Irish space company Enbio.

What is the government’s role in this launch?

Before the Dáil closed for the summer break, two international treaties had to be re-ratified to allow it to launch next year.

On 1 January 1967 the Irish Government signed the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space.

However, there was no record of a vote being conducted at the time.

While this was not a problem, the impending launch of EIRSTAT-1 meant that these two treaties had to be adopted a second time.

The two treaties we are now officially bound by are: The Outer Space Treaty and the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Outer Space Objects.

Does Ireland have an organization like NASA in the US to oversee future space missions?

Ireland does not have a space agency to launch space missions.
Therefore, the Irish state is the permitting authority, which is why Leo Varadkar had to sign the contracts.

Prior to the ratification of the treaties, Ireland had no legal basis to authorize the mission.

Over the past 20 years, Ireland has contributed €325 million to ESA.

ESA operates on a ‘geo-return’ basis, meaning that a proportionate amount of money invested in the agency is returned to Irish companies to develop and build new technology.

When and where will the satellite be launched?

EIRSTAT-1 will be launched 520 kilometers into the sky from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and then orbit the Earth for about five years before being returned to the UCD.

The launch window is midway between January and February.

ESA launches its space missions from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, which is 500 miles north of the equator. It uses Ariane rockets to launch large satellites.

Is this the start of more Irish space efforts?

EIRSAT-1 is a small satellite and a first step towards building larger detectors.

But despite being Ireland’s first satellite, there are no fewer than 97 space companies here, all of which have contracts with ESA.

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The global space economy offers Irish companies real commercial opportunities.

It has been estimated to be worth over $350 billion in 2020 and will grow by $1 trillion by 2030.

UCD's own orbiting spacecraft and Ireland's first satellite, EIRSAT-1, the Educational Irish Research Satellite

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UCD’s own orbiting spacecraft and Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1, the Educational Irish Research Satellite
The EIRSAT-1 team consists of students and staff from the UCD School of Physics, the UCD School of Engineering, the UCD School of Maths and the UCD School of Computer Science ️

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The EIRSAT-1 team consists of students and staff from the UCD School of Physics, the UCD School of Engineering, the UCD School of Maths and the UCD School of Computer Science ️

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9581498/inside-irelands-space-race-satellites-launch-government/ In Ireland’s space races while the government approves next year’s launch of the satellite

Fry Electronics Team

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