ENBIO Space Technologies Centre, Clonmel
The ENBIO Space Technologies Centre in Clonmel, Tipperary was funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and others, and is ENBIO’s centre of excellence for the production of Thermal Management treatments for satellites, spacecraft, and space related hardware. The facility produces the next generation of proprietary surface treatments, in particular to protect vital parts of the ESA Solar Orbiter satellite from the harsh conditions of Outer Space. ENBIO will use its patented technology platform, CoBlast, invented by company CEO John O’Donoghue, to produce a unique “SolarBlack” surface. A complementary ceramic surface, “SolarWhite”, a high temperature, inorganic, reflective white coating, has also been developed by ENBIO.
The Space Technologies Centre’s first major action is to coat the High Gain Antenna for the Solar Orbiter mission with SolarBlack. This is taking place in the second half of 2015. The High Gain Antenna is composed of a 1.2 m diameter titanium reflector dish, assembled and mounted on a boom arm. This dish is vital to the mission as it will relay information to and from the spacecraft, and relay data from the 10 scientific instruments on board back to the Instrument Teams for analysis.
The Space Technologies Centre contains two fully independent production lines for SolarBlack and SolarWhite, as well as a suite of test equipment and two 8m3 ovens designed for the SolarWhite process. One oven has humidity control capability at low temperature and is also capable of heating components to 250 °C, while the other is a furnace operational to 500 °C. These are available to other companies for their use upon request.
ENBIO’s space coatings uniquely combine extreme thermal and ultra-violet radiation stability, robustness and electrical conductivity characteristics.