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Ireland set to launch first satellite

An agreement signed between Dublin and the European Space Agency has officially paved the way for the launch of Ireland’s first satellite.

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English on Monday participated in an exchange of letters with the EU agency, which will see EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite, launched early next year.

The satellite, developed by researchers at University College Dublin (UCD), will depart from a base in French Guiana in 2023. Throughout its four-year mission, it will undertake three experiments, travelling on a Low Earth Orbit at an altitude of 400km.

The project was launched in 2017 and the official signing of the agreement was greenlighted by the government earlier this month.

“This is a big moment for the Irish space sector,’ said Varadkar at the event. “It has a huge spin-off potential for Irish businesses and universities. We have increased our financial contribution to the European Space Agency which is paid back in multiples in terms of contracts for Irish aviation and aerospace companies.”

“Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency has been vital to EIRSAT-1’s development,” said Professor Lorraine Hanlon, Director of UCD’s C-Space Centre and the EIRSAT-1 Project.

“It is a huge milestone for the mission to be signing these agreements and we are excited to keep working towards launch and operations next year.” EurActiv

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