Students and staff of UCD designed Ireland's first satellite, EIRSAT-1.
On 17th October, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Damien English, TD, signed an agreement with the European Space Agency facilitating the launch next year, as reported by Blaithnead O'Dea in Silicon Republic.
David Kearns, a media officer and digital journalist at UCD University Relations, wrote on UCD’s website that the satellite: 'will carry three experiments on its Low Earth Orbit, an altitude of some 550km, and will report its data back to UCD. Alongside a system to detect gamma rays in low Earth orbit, the satellite's other payload includes a novel attitude control system designed by the Dynamics and Control Group in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, as well as in-orbit demonstration of a protective coating technology developed in Ireland.'
An Tánaiste has referred to the achievement as a 'huge milestone'. The satellite represents a long academic tradition of technological innovation and scientific advancement on campus. PhD students at UCD celebrated the announcement that it would be launched next year.
Prof. Orla Feely of UCD was recently quoted by RTÉ on the momentous accomplishment: 'We see a huge opportunity for Ireland to play a major role in space science and earth observation.' The move was not without criticism however, with one Twitter user saying: “Theres [sic] people living in tents in Ireland. Can you help them out before thinking about exploring space?” The satellite is expected to launch early next year.
NOTE: A previous version of this article stated that the satelite was co-created alongside a team from Queens University Belfast. While QUB was involved in early stages of the project, the partnership ended prior to design, development, test and validation stages. Our apologies to the Space Research team here at UCD for our initial incorrect report.