Friday, December 1, 2023

Launch & Deployment schedule for EIRSAT-1

EIRSAT-1 is the first Irish satellite and I covered this in a previous guest post by Lez, EI4GEB.

The cubesat is going to be launched with 24 other satellites on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 18:19 UTC on Friday 1st December 2023.

Other satellites on board include KOREA's 425, Space BD’s ISL48, SITAEL’s uHETSat, D-Orbit’s ION SCV Daring Diego, York Space Systems’ Bane, and PlanetIQ’s GNOMES-4. This is also the 17th flight of the first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, Transporter-4, Transporter-5, Globalstar FM15, ISI EROS C-3, and seven Starlink missions. Following stage separation, the first stage will land on Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Sequence of events... Here is a timeline of what is expected to happen...

18:19 UTC - T=0 - Launch of Falcon 9 from California.

19:49 UTC - T+90 mins - EIRSAT-1 injected into a 520-km Sun-Synchronous Orbit somewhere over Norway.

20:34 UTC* - T+135 mins - Satellite’s antenna deployment somewhere over the South Pacific.

20:45 UTC* - T+146 mins - EIRSAT-1 will pass to the south of New Zealand & Australia. Is it in range? If it is, it's likely to be very low in the southern sky.

20:58 UTC* - T+159mins - EIRSAT-1 will pass over South Africa. 

21:18 UTC* - T+180 mins - EIRSAT-1 over Europe



EIRSAT-1 is not a communications satellite and does not relay signals. It has a number of experiments on board and it will transmit telemetry back to earth on the 70cms UHF band, at a frequency of 437.100 MHz

The downlink is GMSK modulated at a data rate of 9600 bps. Instructions for decoding the EIRSAT-1 beacon are available on the EIRSAT-1 instruction page.  

Doppler Shift... As EIRSAT-1 will be traveling at about 27,000kms per hour, there will be a significant amount of doppler shift on the signal at 437 MHz. The amount of doppler and how fast it changes will depend on whether the satellite is going directly overhead or is passing to the east or west and not too far above the horizon.

As a guide, you should tune to 437.110 MHz to first hear the satellite. As you track it, it will move down in frequency and it should be down around 437.090 MHz as it moves out of range.

See the website of VK3JED for some examples.

QSL Card from the European Space Agency... The first confirmed recording of EIRSAT-1 from each continent (Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Oceania) within a week of launch will be rewarded with a QSL card from ESA. These “special postcards” confirm that radio contact was made, and will include acknowledgement of the help given by the winners to ESA and the EIRSAT-1 team in acquiring the first signals from EIRSAT-1. 

To enter this competition, please send in your recording, timestamp of passage over your ground station, and the location of your ground station to cubesats AT esa DOT int. Be sure to include “EIRSAT-1 competition” in the subject of the e-mail.

EIRSAT-1 Control Room in Dublin

EIRSAT-1 Experiments... EIRSAT-1 is Ireland’s first satellite, and was designed, built, and operated by students with the support of ESA Education’s Fly Your Satellite! programme. In addition to the radio transmitter, EIRSAT-1 houses three main experiment payloads, which were built from scratch by the student team:  

GMOD is a detector to study gamma ray bursts, which are the most luminous explosions in the universe and occur when a massive star dies or two stars collide.  

EMOD is an experiment to see how a thermal treatment protects the surface of a satellite when in space. 

WBC will test a new method of using Earth’s magnetic field to change a satellite’s orientation in space. 

Video... This non-technical 22-min video intended for the general public gives an overview of how EIRSAT-1 was conceived and built.


1) ESA- Calling all radio amateurs – be the first to hear satellite EIRSAT-1 from orbit

2) EIRSAT-1 technical data...


Anonymous said...

Great! Looking forward to watching live on EIRSAT-1 youtube channel, best of luck.....

Lez EI4GEB said...

Great article John.
A truly great achievement by the team of students in UCD.

Lez & 73's