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Meet the team: EIRSAT-1

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ESA / Education / CubeSats - Fly Your Satellite!

The Educational Irish Research Satellite-1 (EIRSAT-1) is a project led by students in University College Dublin, which aims to build and operate a 2U CubeSat. EIRSAT-1 will provide an in-orbit demonstration of 3 Irish developed payloads – GMOD, a novel gamma-ray detector developed in UCD, EMOD, a demonstration of Irish company ENBIO’s thermal control coatings in space, and WBC, an attitude control algorithm developed in UCD. 

The mission

Rendering of EIRSAT-1 in deployed configuration
Rendering of EIRSAT-1 in deployed configuration

There are three main aims of the EIRSAT-1 mission:

  • The first is to develop the know-how of the Irish higher education sector in space science and engineering, by training students in space mission development and operations. 
  • Our second aim is to address skills shortages in the space sector by fostering collaboration between student teams and industry, which is fulfilled through collaboration with industry partners. 
  • The final aim of the mission is to inspire the next generation of students towards the study of STEM subjects, through an extensive outreach programme. 

For each of the EIRSAT-1 payloads there are scientific objectives. 

With GMOD, the mission aims to study a number of Gamma Ray Bursts, the most luminous explosions in the universe which occurs when a massive star dies, or when two stars collide. Using a bespoke gamma-ray detector, the mission aims to assess the capability of this technology for use on next-generation gamma-ray missions. 

The ENBIO Module EMOD aims to perform the first low earth orbit measurements on the performance of novel surface treatments SolarWhite and SolarBlack, . 

Wave Based Control (WBC) aims to implement and test a wave-based control algorithm to determine its potential as a viable alternative to standard Attitude Determination and Control methods. This controller has been applied in simulations and has been flown in parabolic flights but has yet to fly in space.

The team

EIRSAT-1 logo
EIRSAT-1 logo

EIRSAT-1 is a project lead by students from the UCD School of Physics and the UCD College of Engineering. The groups involved have international expertise in Astrophysics, Material Science and Control Systems. Each group is also working on existing ESA contracts for Gamma Ray spectroscopy detector development,  Solar Orbiter, and Future Launcher Preparatory Programme. There is also additional expertise within the team in mission, structural and thermal analysis; communications; software and ground data management. 

The motivation for this mission comes from the growing space sector in Ireland and UCD’s space science experience. As the first Irish satellite, EIRSAT-1 aims to build on the extensive Irish space industry and ensure that there are students trained to continue to grow Ireland’s presence in space.

CubeSat quick facts

Payload GMOD, the Gamma-ray Module, is a scintillator based detector, developed in UCD, which aims to detect gamma-ray bursts.
EMOD, the ENBIO Module, will test Irish company ENBIO’s thermal control coatings in space.
WBC, Wave Based Control, is a novel attitude control algorithm developed in UCD which will be tested in space at a later stage of the mission.
Ground station School of Physics, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4 
Dimensions <106.7mm, 106.7mm, 227mm>
with deployed antennae <1053.99mm, 613.19mm, 232mm>
Mass 2305 g
Power consumption 2.217 W
Solar panels 4 x 2U, (20), body mounted
Mission lifetime 9-24 months
Website www.eirsat1.wordpress.com
EIRSAT-1 team
EIRSAT-1 team