ENBIO to provide ‘Sunscreen’ Technology to Protect Nearest Satellite Mission to the Sun

Dublin, Ireland, 6th May 2014, ENBIO, the Irish surface technology company, today announced that it has been awarded the contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Thales Alenia Space Italia. The contract calls for the application of ENBIO’s proprietary surface treatment technology on the heatshield of an upcoming ESA scientific satellite, called Solar Orbiter.


Due for launch in 2017, Solar Orbiter will travel closer to the Sun than any previous satellite mission and will require a new generation in extremely robust and stable surfaces to protect the sensitive scientific instruments on-board.


In its manufacturing facility ENBIO will use its patented technology platform, CoBlast, to produce such unique ‘black’ surfaces, which it will then deploy on critical internal and external surfaces of the satellite. 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.


Speaking on the announcement of the contract, Nigel Cobbe, Chief Commercial Officer, ENBIO said, “The selection of our surface technology on the Solar Orbiter satellite, in particular as the first line of defence on the heatshield, unquestionably highlights the unique robustness of our surfaces”.


The advantages of ENBIO’s surfaces for the space sector were initially highlighted during a technical programme funded by the ESA and Enterprise Ireland.


The ENBIO CoBlast process was invented and developed by company CEO John O’Donoghue. CoBlast replaces a metal’s oxide layer, typically aluminium and titanium, with a desired thin surface which fuses to the underlying metal in a single, environmentally friendly process step, requiring no chemicals or thermal input.


Such is the thermal and mechanical stability of CoBlast surfaces, ENBIO was challenged by ESA to develop a next-generation, high temperature reflective coating, required for the Solar Orbiter mission. In response, ENBIO has developed a coating called SolarWhite which is applied on top of, and cured to, the CoBlast SolarBlack surface, acting as a primer with unique stability and electrical conductivity properties. It is currently undergoing extreme environmental testing by ESA.


SolarBlack and SolarWhite represent next-generation thermal protection solutions to not only the space sector, spanning scientific and commercial satellite applications, but also offer unique thermal protection to a suite of terrestrial applications. “Our developed-for space technology offers solutions to more Earthly challenges across multiple industry sectors, including enhanced corrosion resistance and thermal protection within the oil and gas sector and thermal flow solutions within the electronics sector. It is ENBIO’s intention to establish a Surfaces Centre of Excellence in Ireland, including manufacturing and R&D functions, to offer such solutions to global markets,” concluded Mr Cobbe.


For further information contact: Nigel Cobbe, Chief Commercial Officer, ENBIO,
t: +353 1 525 3305, e: nigel.cobbe@enbio.eu.


ENBIO is currently strengthening its suite of strategic technical and development partners aimed at offering its CoBlast technology, equipment, consumables and support through a global network of established world-class companies, embedded across multiple industry sectors. www.enbio.eu.


The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.


ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today it launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. www.esa.int

Back to News Articles