On Tuesday the 14th of April 2015, ENBIO officially opened our new Space Technologies Centre in Clonmel. Thanks to the hard work of our construction partners, Contax Ltd., and the ENBIO team in Clonmel, particularly John Collins & Joe Franey, the day passed without a hitch. Our Space Sales Manager, Kevin O’Flynn even appeared on RTE Radio to talk about the opening, and the event was covered on several business and technology websites.
Guests from all over Europe were present, including our colleagues at Airbus Defence & Space from Stevenage in the UK, and the Solar Orbiter Project Control Manager of the European Space Agency Yves Bonnefous. Many of our colleagues closer to home attended as well to see the Minister of State for Jobs perform the official ribbon-cutting ceremony and declare the facility open. The facility was funded by the European Space Agency, with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland. We have made huge progress since the early days of our interaction with the European Space Agency in 2011, from one small machine to a large purpose-built space in Clonmel.
The Space Technologies Centre’s first major action is to coat the High Gain Antenna for the Solar Orbiter mission with SolarBlack. This will be taking place between now and the end of the year. 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 second major action is to qualify ENBIO’s Solar White coating for use in space missions including the Solar Orbiter. Tests of the coating will take place over the summer at the European Space Agency’s facilities in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.