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Historic Achievement as First Irish Satellite is Launched into Space

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond, has congratulated the UCD project team following the historic launch of the first Irish satellite, EIRSAT-1.

The Minister hailed the historic achievement by the UCD-based project which was undertaken as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) “Fly Your Satellite!” Programme, saying, “history has been made with Ireland’s first satellite, EIRSAT-1 being launched into space. This is a huge moment for Ireland, and for our space sector. The team in UCD have worked tirelessly on this project, and I had the privilege of meeting them earlier this year and seeing at first hand the huge amount of work that has gone into this project. This is therefore a day of celebration for the culmination of the efforts of the team over the last few years.”

Acknowledging Ireland’s investment in ESA and its role in the project, Minister Richmond said, “this launch would not have been possible were it not for Ireland’s membership of ESA. In Budget 2024 we announced an additional €3.3 million in funding for ESA, bringing its total core allocation in 2024 to €26 million. In addition, I am delighted to have secured a further €8 million in once-off funding for ESA this year.”

“This investment has not only helped us with the creation and launch of EIRSAT-1, but it has also benefitted many Irish start-ups and space companies. In 2017, 60 Irish companies secured contracts with ESA, growing to 97 in 2022. There are massive commercial opportunities for Irish businesses in the space sector and I was privileged to meet some of these businesses at the ESA Business Incubation Centre in NovaUCD recently. Today’s launch will therefore greatly boost the possible economic returns for Ireland.”

The EIRSAT-1 project has provided students across a range of disciplines with the opportunity to be involved in the mission from inception to design to construction to testing. This has resulted in the development of highly skilled graduates who are now equipped with the specialised skills that they can apply in the space industry sector.

The Minister paid tribute to all involved in the project, from the UCD academics and students, to ESA and the Fly Your Satellite! Team, the innovative Irish space companies SensL and ENBIO whose technology is aboard the satellite, for being part of Ireland’s space history, and he also thanked Enterprise Ireland, SFI, the Irish Research Council and the European Space Education Resource Office for supporting the initiative.

Minister Richmond concluded, “sending the first Irish satellite into space is something that many have dedicated their careers to, and many may have only dreamed of until now, when the dream has become a reality. My heartfelt congratulations to all involved in the launch and I am confident that this historic achievement will be a catalyst for many more space projects and the beginning of another exciting chapter for Ireland’s space industry.”

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