ENBIO, THE IRISH surface technology company, has won a €500,000 contract with the European Space Agency to build a sunscreen to protect satellites in space.
In its new manufacturing facility at NovaUCD, Enbio will use its patented technology platform, CoBlast, to make black surfaces that is put on the outside and inside surfaces of satellites.
The black surface, called SolarBlack, is extreme thermal, protects against UV radiation, is robust and has electrical conductivity characteristics.
These surfaces will provide satellites with a more robust surface than is currently available to counter the intense solar radiation encountered in space.
Speaking at the announcement of the ESA contract, Nigel Cobbe, Vice-President, Business Development, Enbio said:
This is a fantastic achievement not only for Enbio but also for Ireland’s high-tech manufacturing base.
Enbio is currently working with Astrium, the prime contractor for the Solar Orbiter satellite mission to the sun and is due for launch in 2017.
The Solar Orbiter will travel closer to the sun than any previous satellite mission and will require extremely robust and stable surfaces to protect the sensitive scientific instruments on board.
Andy Whitehouse, Solar Orbiter programme manager at Astrium said Enbio’s surface was promising:
The challenges of building a spacecraft that will fly so close to the sun means we are always looking at better ways to protect it from the harsh environment – and Enbio’s surface looks very promising.