ENBIO a company at DCU Alpha, Dublin City University’s Innovation Campus, today announced a contract worth €650k from the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop advanced surface coatings for Neosat, Europe’s next generation of telecommunications satellites.
ENBIO is working with ESA as part of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme (ARTES). The aim of the Neosat platform is to create the next generation satellite platforms and allow European manufacturers to capture over half the world’s satcom market between now and 2030, potentially worth €25 billion.
The announcement was made at the Enterprise Ireland trade visit to the European Space Agency Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk which is currently being led by John Halligan T.D., Minister for Training, Skills & Innovation. Congratulating the company on its recent success Minister Halligan stated “ENBIO is a prime example of how Irish technology companies can be at the forefront of ground breaking technology developments for the most demanding of space systems engineering. It is particularly encouraging to see such high-level space engineering activities taking place in the South East region”.
ENBIO has benefitted significantly over the last six years from Irish government investment in the European Space Agency. Through Enterprise Ireland, ENBIO has been supported to compete for opportunities in ESA and is now successfully coating satellite components for many European satellite manufacturers. This has grown the company from six people to its present size of sixteen.
The global desire for increased telecommunications creates challenges for the satellite builders to continue to improve the bandwidth of the satellites. This additional demands create more heat that must be properly managed or it limits the satellite capacity. ENBIO’s new thermal coatings provide an opportunity for a leap forward in the performance of the satellite thermal management system, allowing more power to be put through the satellite.
The contract builds on the work recently completed for Neosat where ENBIO conducted early stage development on the coating, called SolarWhite. The SolarWhite coating was initially developed in collaboration with Assoc. Professor Dr. Kenneth Stanton of University College Dublin. The coating is now being used on ESA’s most advanced spacecraft, Solar Orbiter, to help protect it as it goes to orbit and study the sun.
This next phase of the Neosat ARTES contract is for two years, to enable ENBIO to continue its work in scaling the coating process and qualfiying it for use by European satellite manufacturers. The facility in Clonmel will be a central part of the next contract, allowing ENBIO to deliver the highest quality coatings.
During the ESA visit, John O’Donoghue, ENBIO’s CEO, said “We have a wonderful team in ENBIO Clonmel and Dublin that have worked incredibly hard to get us so far in such a short space of time. The support we’ve had from the Department of Jobs Enterprise & Innovation and Enterprise Ireland continues to be invaluable as we push to expand the work being done in Clonmel.”
“This is an example of how ESA’s ARTES programme helps European and Canadian industry to stay innovative in a very competitive environment. It enables SMEs and large satellite integrators to collaborate so that a technology matches the specific needs of telecom satellite applications” said Andreas Mauroschat, Neosat Project Manager at ESA. “Satellite communications account for two thirds of the overall space industry revenue.”