13/12/2012

Enbio Signs Contract With ESA

Enbio, the Irish surface technology company, today announced that it has secured a €500,000 contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The contract will enable Enbio to optimise a proprietary surface treatment for use as a 'sunscreen' to better protect satellites as they travel in space. The contract will also enable Enbio to establish its first manufacturing facility at its headquarters at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs, at University College Dublin.

The contract was secured with support from Enterprise Irelandwhich is the co-ordinating body for ESA in Ireland.

In its new manufacturing facility Enbio will use its patented technology platform, CoBlast, to produce unique 'black' surfaces, which it will then deploy on critical internal and external surfaces of satellites.

These 'black' surfaces, called 'SolarBlack(s)', uniquely combine extreme thermal and ultra-violet radiation stability, robustness and 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, thus better protecting satellites and their payloads while they journey through space.

Welcoming the announcement, Mr Seán Sherlock TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, said: "This is yet another example of a highly innovative Irish company developing advanced technology for the space programme. I am particularly pleased to see that this will lead to a new manufacturing facility in Dublin with potential for long term, high skills job creation. This announcement provides further evidence that Ireland’s membership of ESA, with the support of Enterprise Ireland, continues to support the development of an expanding high technology industrial sector in Ireland."

Enbio is also currently collaborating with Astrium, the prime contractor for the Solar Orbiter satellite mission to the Sun. This challenging ESA science mission is aimed at studying Earth's nearest star 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. Enbio’s SolarBlack is a candidate technology for a number of applications on this particular satellite, including its critical heatshield.

The unique advantages of Enbio's surfaces for the aerospace industry were initially highlighted during a technical programme funded by the ESA and Enterprise Ireland.

(CD/GK)

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