ESA selects Irish consortium to develop new satellite


The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected a team from Ireland to develop, launch and operate the Educational Irish Research Satellite 1 (EIRSAT-1), the country’s first satellite.

Planned to be launched from the International Space Station (ISS) for a 12-month mission, the Cubesat will be developed under ESA Education Office ‘Fly Your Satellite’ 2017 Programme.

EIRSAT-1 will be developed by a consortium led by University College Dublin (UCD) and Queen’s University Belfast. Five Irish companies will also be involved in the project.

“The project will have a significant impact on educational programmes and future skills by placing spaceflight know-how into students’ hands for the first time."

To be launched following the fulfilment of relevant ESA requirements, the mission will gather data on gamma ray bursts and test innovative Irish space technologies.

Ireland's training, skills and innovation state minister John Halligan said: “As Ireland has never launched a satellite of its own, this mission represents a first for the island of Ireland and a giant leap for the Irish space sector and will be of enormous interest to the entire community.

“The project will have a significant impact on educational programmes and future skills by placing spaceflight know-how into students’ hands for the first time."

The EIRSAT-1 will include two different payloads on a 2 Unit CubeSat configuration, and both will contain technology from the industrial partners that will be flown in space for the first time, marking an important step in their space heritage.

EIRSAT-1 will feature two different payloads on a two-unit CubeSat.

To be developed with funding from ESA technology programmes, including the science core technology programme, both the payloads will contain technology from the consortium partners.