Roscommon student on UCD team launching Ireland’s first satellite 

Roscommon man, Gabriel Finneran (far right) with fellow UCD EIRSAT-1 team members and a life-sized replica of the satellite. Photo: Andres Poveda

Ireland’s first satellite is due to launch into orbit this week. Designed and built by a student-led team at UCD, EIRSAT-1 will carry three experiments into space and report data back to a command centre on the Irish campus.

Gabriel Finneran from “the Roscommon side of Athlone” is a member of the UCD team which aims to make history when the EIRSAT-1 satellite is launched by rocket into space.

Gabriel’s role in the team has been focused on developing operational procedures and testing the satellite to ensure it will survive in space.

Gabriel said, “This has been a truly amazing project to work on. Our team in UCD is the first in the country to design and build a satellite that will be launched into orbit and then operated from Ireland. Having started on this project as a student, and worked on it for so long, it is extremely exciting to now be this close to launch date!”.

Gabriel is a PhD student in the UCD Space Science group. His research focuses on the link between supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. He graduated from UCD in 2020 with a BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science.

Throughout the project, Gabriel and his EIRSAT-1 teammates in UCD have worked with the European Space Agency (ESA),’s ‘Fly Your Satellite programme’, to receive outstanding training, space-expert mentoring and hands-on guidance.

The development of the spacecraft at UCD has seen the introduction of space systems engineering and skills that have not previously existed in Irish industry or academia.

The satellite’s three experiments will test new space technologies developed in Ireland, including an advanced instrument that will probe the early Universe.