EIRSAT-1 stands for the Educational Irish Research Satellite 1. It is a satellite about the size of a shoe box, called a CubeSat. It is a small-scale satellite but still needs the same functionality as a large mission.
The satellite must be able to power itself, orientate itself in space, communicate to the ground station being built on the roof of the UCD School of Physics and collect data from the three science experiments on-board.
|EIRSAT-1 in the lab|
The first experiment is a novel gamma-ray detector, GMOD, which is being developed in UCD. GMOD will detect gamma-rays from both cosmic and atmospheric phenomena.
The second experiment, EMOD, consists of a payload developed with Irish company, ENBIO Ltd., to monitor the in-flight performance of their thermal spacecraft treatments, SolarWhite and SolarBlack.
The third experiment, Wave Based Control (WBC), is a novel attitude control algorithm, developed in the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, which will be tested for the first time in space on EIRSAT-1.
In February 2022, the payloads, GMOD and EMOD, and the antenna deployment module were qualified for space flight. In the last year, the payloads have been subject to environmental testing at the ESA CubeSat Support Facilities in Belgium.
During the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, the team has been operating the satellite remotely. The satellite hardware must be kept in a ISO Level 8 cleanroom in a lab in the UCD School of Physics. Hairnets, gloves and anti-static coats have to be worn to prevent dust and contaminants landing on the satellite components.
A private YouTube stream is used to monitor the hardware in the cleanroom and Discord is used for operators to converse during satellite testing and share screens to see the outputs of the on-board computer.
Hopefully all going well a launch date for next year (2023) is a go.
I have been talking to the team in UCD, and they would love to get feedback from radio amateurs on signals reports from the new satellite after its launch's next year.
They will provide the frequencies after launch.
I wish them the best of luck and look forward to giving signal reports.
Some RF info...
On-board Communications: The on-board CMC (Common Mode Current) transceiver is the space-qualified CPUT VUTRX transceiver supplied by ClydeSpace. The communications system uses UHF downlink (430-440 MHz) and VHF uplink (140-150 MHz) bands. The transceiver provides 9600 baud downlink and 1200 baud uplink, and implements a GMSK downlink and AFSK uplink configuration. The AX.25 protocol is used for uplink packets, while a CCSDS convolutional encoder may be used for downlink.
ADM (Antenna Deployment Module): EIRSAT-1 will use a custom ADM designed and built at UCD which will be mounted on the -Z end of the satellite deploys two dipole antennas, one for UHF downlink and one for VHF uplink. Both dipoles are composed of two tape spring antenna elements, deployed from opposite sides of the module, as seen in many previous and COTS antenna designs. The elements are 5 mm wide, made from a Copper Beryllium alloy and attached to spring loaded doors at each side of the module. They are coiled inside the ADM before deployment, within the 7 x 100 x 100 mm overall dimensions of the module. When EIRSAT-1 is clear of the CubeSat deployer the ADM will activate a burn wire release mechanism allowing the module doors to open and the elements to uncoil into their operational positions and stay in that configuration for the remainder of the mission.
1) EIRSAT-1 website
2) Development of the EIRSAT-1 CubeSat through Functional Verification of the Engineering Qualification Model
From the IRTS News - 16th Oct 2022... Jeremy Boot G4NJH reports on Amateur Radio Newsline that the team developing EIRSAT-1 has returned from Belgium, where the project underwent rigorous testing at the CubeSat Support Facility, including an assessment to ensure it would survive launch. The University College Dublin team includes David Murphy, EI9HWB, and Lána Salmon, EI9HXB. They are developing the low-earth-orbit CubeSat as part of the European Space Agency's "Fly Your Satellite" programme. ESA administrators have said in the past that they view the project as a way to grow a new generation of space scientists and engineers to nurture a space programme for Ireland. The satellite is tentatively scheduled for a launch from an ESA base in French Guiana by early 2023. The Project's website is at www.eirsat1.ie .