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Understanding the effects of exposure to the Lunar, Martian, and deep-space environments on biological systems and health is critical to enabling long-duration spaceflight and the horizon goal of a human mission to Mars. With this in mind, the seminar will discuss the implications of recent and ongoing research into microbiome variation across different modules of the International Space Station, of crew in an analogue Martian habitat during the longest controlled human isolation experiment conducted to-date as well as in mice on the Rodent Research 6 mission.


Dr Nicholas Brereton received his PhD from Imperial College London before moving to the Universite de Montreal as a research fellow before joining the UCD School of Biological and Environmental Science as an Ad Astra Fellow. He specialises in the genetics of cross-kingdom interactions in plant and environmental research, clinical microbiome research, and microbiome research within the space sciences and currently leads a multi-omic research project with NASA Genelab collaborators on spaceflight-associated changes at the host-gut microbiome interface using data from the Rodent Research 6 mission.

Seminar: March 2nd, 2023, 2pm in Room 129, UCD Science North (Physics), Belfield

European Lunar Exploration Workshop

Europe is going to the moon! In light of future exploration plans, C-Space examined our nearest neighbour through the eyes of several international experts. This workshop raised awareness of Europe’s activities and plans, addressing the motivations, challenges and opportunities presented by lunar exploration. The topics covered engineering, medicine, manufacturing, physics, astronomy, geology and industry applications. The workshop was hosted by renowned space journalist Leo Enright.

Earth Observation – €6.4M Funding Success in DTIF 3 for CAMEO

The CAMEO project, led by Assoc. Prof. Michela Bertolotto from UCD's School of Computer Science, offers a new approach to accessing international satellite/UAV/Land-based sensor data. Along with mechanisms for combining these datasets with national climate, agriculture, and marine databases, tangible benefits for Irish industry, the public sector, and researchers can be realised, while also establishing Ireland as an international leader in the use of EO data for economic, environmental and societal benefit. C-Space will lead the networking and training aspects of the project, the latter in partnership with Space Industry Skillnet. The members of this consortium, led by UCD, are Assoc. Prof. Michela Bertolotto UCD School of Computer Science; Vertice Integration Services Ltd T/A Vertice Cloud; BCC Risk Advisory Ltd T/A Edgescan; The Icon Group Ltd; Treemetrics Ltd; TechWorks Marine Ltd; EMC Information Systems International and Oracle Corporation Ltd.

ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland @ UCD

NovaUCD has joined the ESA Space Solutions Centre Ireland (ESA SSCI) consortium to better support entrepreneurs and start-ups in the space industry. This national consortium is led by the Tyndall National Institute and funded by ESA and Enterprise Ireland.

Eligible start-ups which successfully apply to locate at NovaUCD through ESA SSCI  will be able to avail of support provided through the ESA BIC network alongside the support programmes and activities provided by NovaUCD. These companies also receive €50,000 project funding for development of their enterprise.

NovaUCD has already supported several space active companies, including ENBIO, O.C.E. Technology, ProvEye and PlasmaBound.

  EIRSAT-1 Status and Impact Report

The spacecraft Engineering Qualification Model (EQM) continues to undergo extensive testing in UCD’s spacecraft assembly clean-room. Following completion of this phase, it will undergo an environmental test campaign later in the year at ESA ESEC’s Cubesat Test Facility in Redu, Belgium, pandemic-restrictions permitting. It has been an immensely challenging year for laboratory work, but the team has once again shown their amazing resilience, creativity and innovation in creating remote working solutions to keep the project moving forward. The EQM is an exact duplicate of the Flight Model and is used to retire major technical risks. The EQM will stay in UCD after launch, allowing us to troubleshoot any issues and test out new software before uplinking it to the spacecraft. Team members, all of whom are students, have been preparing technical papers on various aspects of the mission and presenting their work at (opens in a new window)SpaceOps 2021, the (opens in a new window)International Conference on Space Optics and (opens in a new window)Communicating Astronomy with the Public.

An EIRSAT-1 Space Art Challenge outreach project, run in partnership with the Museum of Literature Ireland and the Junior Certificate School Programme Demonstration Library Project, received more than 300 entries.

C-Space delivers Doing Business with ESA and Winning ESA Proposal Training Courses with Space Industry Skillnet   

Supporting Industry is core to C-Space’s mission and, in partnership with SIS, we have developed and delivered two training courses targeted at supporting Irish involvement with ESA. These are the one day Doing Business with ESA course to support those relatively new to or interested in working with ESA; and the two day Winning ESA Proposals which teaches a proven process for delivering high quality proposal in an efficient way. These courses were delivered in March 2021. These courses will be run again in the autumn and you can register interest through the (opens in a new window)Space Industry Skillnet webpage.

  C-Space member Prof David Browne presents at UN global webinar series

On May 19th, Prof David Browne was invited by the United Nations to address their global (opens in a new window)Hypergravity/Microgravity webinar series on Material Science. Congratulations to David from all at C-Space on this honour. His talk can be found (opens in a new window)here. [Talk starts at 1h20m].

  Quantum Physics in Space Seminar by Prof Mauro Paternostro QUB

On May 13th, Prof Mauro Paternostro of Queens University Belfast was hosted by C-Space and the UCD Centre for Quantum Engineering, Science and Technology to deliver a seminar on Quantum Physics in Space. Prof Paternostro described how advances in quantum control and engineering are spurring a revolution in the way fundamental physics questions are explored at the empirical level.  At the same time, he reported that they are the seeds for future disruptive technological applications of quantum mechanics.  One of the key points made was that a space-based environment may open new avenues for both the development of quantum technologies and their use for fundamental and applied investigations. Prof Paternostro covered both fundamental scientific questions enhanced by the use of quantum technologies in space and the possible implementation of such technologies for a variety of academic and commercial purposes. Thank you Mauro!

  IAU Symposium set for Ireland in 2022

In early May over 200 scientists from around the world (virtually) attended the five-day International Astronomical Union Symposium on "Massive Stars Near and Far". This major international conference was organized by a group of astronomers at institutes across Ireland, including UCD. At the meeting, the scientific community came together to discuss exciting results on gravitational waves, massive stellar evolution and supernovae and more; as well as ht prospects for upcoming telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope. While this meeting was held online due to the pandemic, an in-person conference is planned to be held in Ireland in early 2022.

  Interns from C-Space

The C-Space director and UCD Science internship manager met with a number of SMEs who are part of ESACCL to present the opportunity for recruitment of UCD Space Science and Technology Masters’ students to conduct a 3-month internship in their business. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact internship manager via (opens in a new window)scienceinternships@ucd.ie 

  Have you got Space Ideas? Try ESA’s Open Space Innovation Platform

ESA’s OSIP is a website that enables the submission of novel ideas for space technology and applications. Anybody is welcome to submit ideas through OSIP.  OSIP allows ESA to discover novel ideas and invest in new unconventional activities to foster advancement in the space industry. There has been relatively little participation from Irish universities in the co-funded research activities and on the OSIP platform in general so please do check it out: (opens in a new window)https://ideas.esa.int/

EIRSAT-1 survives an intense environmental qualification campaign

The UCD C-Space (opens in a new window)EIRSAT-1 team, participating in the second round of ESA’s (opens in a new window)Fly Your Satellite! Programme, successfully conducted the environmental test campaign on their Engineering Qualification Model (EQM). The campaign, which ran from 13 September to 15 October 2021 at the (opens in a new window)CubeSat Support Facility in ESEC-Galaxia (Belgium), is  a vital step on EIRSAT-1’s journey to space.

The campaign saw the 2U CubeSat exposed to conditions representative of those that will be experienced during launch and in space. In parallel, EIRSAT-1’s Flight Model communications subsystem (CMC) and Antenna Deployment Module (ADM) were placed in a thermal vacuum chamber and then heated and cooled to extreme levels over several cycles. The full spacecraft EQM was then installed and tested in the thermal vacuum chamber over the course of several weeks.

Jack Reilly, EIRSAT-1 Test Engineer, who participated in the campaign, commented: ‘This test campaign, which was conducted after months of preparation, was very rewarding and has given us great confidence in the robustness of our satellite. Personally, I had a fantastic time and learned so much about environmental testing. I'm really looking forward to applying that knowledge to our development of our flight model of the spacecraft.’

During Space Week, the team did a live online Q&A with Minister Damien English TD during his meeting with C-Space representatives. They also got to meet ESA DG, Josef Aschbacher, who visited ESEC during the campaign.

 Strathclyde space expert helps bolster Irish space sector ambitions

In the first of a series of planned visits, (opens in a new window)Professor Malcolm Macdonald from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, visited C-Space to discuss ongoing research and innovation, share knowledge and experience on space projects and discuss space research strategy.

Professor Macdonald is Chair of (opens in a new window)Applied Space Technology at the University of Strathclyde, formerly a non-executive board member of the UK Space Agency, and supported the development of Scotland’s first spacecraft, UKube-1, which was launched in 2014.

UCD and University of Strathclyde are also collaborating on a Science Foundation Ireland Frontiers for the Future project, led by (opens in a new window)Professor Lorraine Hanlon, which involves system modelling, payloads and materials to allow future nanosatellite missions to build on the work of EIRSAT-1.

Professor Macdonald’s visit coincided with Space Week (4-10 October) in Ireland, during which he and members of the C-Space team met with national level policymakers to share insights from the successful Scottish space industry and discuss opportunities for Ireland through the National Space Strategy for Enterprise.

Professor Macdonald said: “Scotland now has over 170 organisations involved in the space sector, which has grown by two thirds since 2014-15. The Scottish space success story has proven the direct link between funding for space research and growth in successful space activity. I welcome UCD's increasing space activity including EIRSAT-1, the recent CAMEO award, and the continuing space-related work across many schools.”

First All-Ireland space industry day

The first All-Ireland space industry day, hosted by the ADS Group, took place in Armagh on October 21st and was well attended by over 100 participants. Programme manager, Dr. Ronan Wall, who was one of the event organisers, gave an overview of C-Space. Presentations were made by representatives of the research community and by SMEs, including Mbryonics, Enbio, Eire Composites, Andor and Icemoss.  Liz Seward from Airbus Defence and Space, and the Women in Aerospace UK Working Group chair, presented results of the organisation’s latest survey on career advancement for women in the sector.

A second meeting took place at NUIM in May 2022, with a focus on downstream space activities.

Creating our Future - #UCDSpaceStorm

C-Space hosted a space-themed research brainstorm on November 16th to generate ideas for ‘Creating Our Future,’ a national initiative from the Government of Ireland. During this stimulating, interactive online event, chaired by Rebecca Wilson from Science Foundation Ireland, 40 participants explored the following questions:

Are space research and exploration important for Ireland's future?

What areas of space research should Ireland concentrate on?

What are the measures needed to ensure Ireland can become a key global player in space research?

The outcomes from this important Government campaign are available in the final (opens in a new window)reports.

Fostering the next generation of space talent

December 2021 saw the first in-person graduation ceremonies in UCD for almost 2 years. Despite Storm Barra’s best attempts to derail plans, many of the students from the MSc in Space Science and Technology class, and their families, were able to attend the re-scheduled event. This year’s McEnery Medal and Prize, co-sponsored by UCD School of Physics and the Irish Space Industry Group, was awarded to David Cleary. Many of the graduates have already taken up roles in Irish and global space companies, including Icon Geo, Fieldy, Spire Global and EUMETSAT. Congratulation to all the graduates who did such fantastic work under very challenging circumstances. You can read more about the MSc programme here: https://www.ucd.ie/physics/spacescience/ . We are always keen to talk to companies or research groups who might like to host one of our students during their internship.

We also warmly congratulate Dr. Sarah Walsh on the award of her PhD, co-supervised by (opens in a new window)Assoc. Prof. Sheila McBreen and (opens in a new window)Asst. Prof. Antonio Martin-Carrillo, for her research on verification approaches for ESA’s large X-ray mission, Athena, and for EIRSAT-1. Sarah has taken up a role as Fleet Operations Engineer for OneWeb. Fergal Marshall successfully completed his research Masters on the EIRSAT-1 ground segment in the School of Computer Science. He was co-supervised by Derek Greene and Sheila McBreen.

World Expo in Dubai
Assistant Professor (opens in a new window)David McKeown displayed a testbed for controlling the motion of flexible spacecraft in Ireland's pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai. Expo 2020(+1) had as its the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. Expo 2020 is a major platform for the Department of Foreign Affairs who are working with Government Departments, State Agencies, business, arts and culture, academia and the creative industries to ensure an impactful Ireland presence.