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Celtic New Space: Scotland’s Clyde Space To Provide CubeSat Platform For Ireland’s EIRSAT-1

The EIRSAT team after their first critical design review in 2017. Photograph courtesy of EIRSAT-1/University College Dublin (UCD).

Sweden’s ÅAC Microtec AB has announced the first Celtic connection in space as Clyde Space, Scotland’s largest space company and subsidiary of ÅAC Microtec AB, signed a contract with University College Dublin (UCD).  The contract is of minor value but will see Clyde Space supply CubeSat platform equipment for Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1, which is a 2U CubeSat. EIRSAT-1 is a collaborative project developed by students and staff of UCD and will incorporate novel Irish technology. EIRSAT-1 is planned to launch in 2020.

EIRSAT-1 will be fully designed, assembled, tested and operated in Ireland by staff and students at UCD. This is primarily a technology demonstration and science mission with three payloads, a gamma-ray detector, a materials science experiment and a novel spacecraft control algorithm. It will also demonstrate a low-profile UHF/VHF Antenna Deployment Mechanism. Clyde Space are providing UCD with its full set of CubeSat avionics, including a flight proven onboard computer, an attitude determination and control system and its high-performance power system products.

“Just under a decade ago, we designed and manufactured Scotland’s first satellite, UKube-1.  Still operational today, UKube-1 was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan in 2014.  I can’t say enough how important UKube-1 was to not only Clyde Space, but also to the Scottish space industry.  I believe it was one of the most important catalysts to the fantastic growth we have since seen to the Scottish space sector – 13 years ago there was practically no industry and now we have one of the fastest growing space sectors in the world. We are super proud that UCD has chosen Clyde Space to support Ireland’s first mission.  I wish UCD all the best and hope that EIRSAT-1 is embraced by both government and industry to stimulate a significant and sustainable space sector in Ireland”, said Craig Clark MBE, Clyde Space Founder and CSO.

The EIRSAT-1 project is carried out with the support of the Irish Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, the Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESA), under the educational Fly your Satellite! Programme, ESA Science and ESA PRODEX. The project is developing detailed skills and know-how for mission, payload and technology development in the Irish space sector in space science and engineering.

“Through EIRSAT-1, UCD is developing the first end-to-end space mission and payload systems capability for the benefit of Irish research and industry. It is a challenge to both develop the payload technologies whilst simultaneously readying ourselves for spacecraft delivery, launch and operations. We are really grateful to have Clyde Space provide us with proven avionics subsystems to allow us to concentrate on qualifying our technologies for flight and growing full mission operation skills for the first time in Ireland. We look forward to exploring other potential collaborations in the future”, said Dr Ronan Wall, Space Programme Manager at University College Dublin.

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