Nanosatellites and Payloads
Over the past two decades, the capability of small satellites called nanosatellites (mass <10kg), has revolutionised access to space by the reduction of costs and timescales to deploy new technologies in orbit. Nanosatellites are already delivering unique science and commercial services. These platforms allow targeted and affordable missions for both space science and earth observation. They hold great promise for advancing delivery of customer-driven data and services for a breadth of applications, from sustainable agriculture to remote, low-cost, Internet connectivity.
Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1, is currently being developed at UCD through the European Space Agency (ESA) Fly Your Satellite!, Science and PRODEX programmes. EIRSAT-1 will fly payloads for gamma-ray astrophysics, advanced thermal materials, spacecraft control and an Antenna Deployment Module, all of which have been developed at UCD and are fully qualified.
This activity provides real space heritage and capability to Ireland in areas that have not existed before such as spacecraft systems engineering and end-to-end communications. This heritage is not just applicable to satellites but are core competencies for the development of any sophisticated payloads of any size and in any field. Combining with the existing detector capability in UCD, this provides all the know-how necessary to position Ireland as a key payload development partner as well as being able to deliver full spacecraft.
C-Space will deliver future satellites and payloads that benefit Ireland scientifically and economically.
EIRSAT-1 Testbed or "Flatsat" provides a robust testing and debugging setup for both nanosatellite system and payload development. Here the payloads can be interfaced and tested rapidly with a full functioning spacecraft [credit: D.Murphy]