Enbio opened its new €1.5 million centre of excellence for the development and production of ‘sunscreen technology’ for satellites, spacecraft, and space related hardware. Twelve new jobs are to be created at the Space Technology Centre in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
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Enbio officially opened its new €1.5 million Space Technology Centre in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary this week, creating 12 new jobs in the Irish space sector.

The facility has been funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is Enbio’s centre of excellence for the development and production of ‘sunscreen technology’ for satellites, spacecraft, and space related hardware. As previously reported in the Engineers Journal, in May 2014, Enbio was awarded the contract to coat the main heatshield for the ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission.

Enbio’s CEO John O’Donoghue, a mechanical engineering graduate from UCD, praised the strength of the Enbio team. “We are ESA’s fastest adopted hardware ever, setting new records for getting a technology from concept to flight qualified. Not bad for a small company.

“We are proud to bring a hi-tech investment into Ireland given that we are a small company, and we will continue to develop our surface enhancement technology to solve unmet needs for space and beyond,” he added.

Ireland is celebrating 40 years as a member of ESA in 2015 and Skills, Research and Innovation Minister Damien English described Enbio’s success in the sector, and its involvement in the Solar Orbiter mission, as “a fitting reflection of the ultra-high-technology capabilities developed by the Irish space sector”.

The new facility will enable Enbio to produce the next generation of surface treatments to cope with the harsh conditions of outer space. The Clonmel centre will produce proprietary surface treatments to protect vital parts of the ESA Solar Orbiter satellite due to launch in 2017.

Enbio’s coatings will protect all of the sun facing surfaces of the ESA satellite, allowing scientists to get closer to the sun than any previous mission and making Enbio’s coating the closest man-made object to the sun.

Enbio will use its patented technology platform, CoBlast, invented by company CEO John O’Donoghue, to produce a unique “SolarBlack” surface, which it will then deploy on critical internal and external surfaces of the satellite. CoBlast replaces the oxide layer of a metal – typically aluminium or titanium – with a thin surface which fuses to the metal in a single, environmentally friendly process step, requiring no chemicals or thermal input.

A complementary ceramic surface, “SolarWhite”, a next-generation, high temperature reflective white coating, has also been developed by Enbio and the facility has been designed to produce both coatings for space applications.

The contract was secured through Ireland’s membership of ESA which is managed by Enterprise Ireland. The total number of Irish companies currently, or recently, active in ESA programmes is almost 50 and growing.

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  Enbio officially opened its new €1.5 million Space Technology Centre in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary this week, creating 12 new jobs in the Irish space sector. The facility has been funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is Enbio’s centre of excellence for the development and production of ‘sunscreen technology’...