Six years of hard work and dedication paid off in spectacular fashion today, as the Educational Irish Research Satellite, EIRSAT-1, successfully blasted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. Hitching a ride on a Space-X Falcon-9 launcher, the tiny satellite – measuring just 10.7cm x 10.7cm x 22.7cm – has now made history as Ireland’s first satellite!
On 1 December 2023, at 19:19 CET (18:18 GMT), Ireland's first satellite EIRSAT-1 launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA.
Built by students at University College Dublin under guidance of ESA’s Education Office, EIRSAT-1 is a 2-unit CubeSat carrying three experiments, including a novel gamma ray detector that will study some of the most luminous explosions in the universe.
The mission has been in development since the team was accepted to the ESA Academy Fly Your Satellite! programme in 2017. Over the past six years, the students have worked with ESA experts and acquired the professional competences needed
With NASA gearing up to send humans back to the moon in the next few years with the Artemis missions with the goal of establishing a permanent outpost at the lunar south pole, nations are making efforts to contribute to Artemis and a permanent presence on our nearest celestial neighbor.
Recently, the Italian Space Agency, formally known as Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), has taken steps to establish the first permanent outpost on the lunar surface, known simply as the Multi-Purpose Habitat (MPH). This endeavor was officially kicked by the ASI signing a contract with the French-based aerospace company, Thales Alenia Space, who specializes in space-based systems, including ground segments and satellites used for both Earth observation and space exploration.
Scenes from a 30-second burn with re-ignition of an early prototype of the Prometheus engine at ArianeGroup’s test facility in Vernon, France, on 20 October 2023.
The 100-tonne thrust class Prometheus burns liquid oxygen-liquid methane fuel. Methane is clean burning and simplifies handling, to help enable reusability and reduce the cost of ground operations before and after flight.
The engine is mounted in an early prototype of a reusable rocket stage, called Themis, which is being developed in parallel with the engine under contract from ESA. While engine testing continues, work is also underway to prepare a more advanced