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ESA satellite panel

Together with the European Space Agency (ESA), Bcomp Ltd has developed the first natural fibre reinforced satellite panel.

ESA satellite panel
A demisable satellite structure panel that meets the stringent requirements of the space environment at TRL5.

Aiming to make space exploration cleaner and safer, thanks to the versatility of the powerRibs and ampliTex sustainable lightweighting technologies. 

A honeycomb sandwich panel with high stiffness ampliTex flax fibre/epoxy composite facesheets was produced to the same specifications as a standard aluminium panel for satellite structures.

The powerRibs-reinforced recessions act as plasma heat flux “windows” to accelerate the satellite’s internal demise as it re-enters the atmosphere at the end of its mission.

Key benefits

  • Performance: high specific stiffness, lightweight
  • Safer: fast demisability improves ground safety: Design for Demise (D4D) is a current hot topic for a space industry needing to comply with the Space Debris mitigation requirements, which aim to protect everyone and everything against potential debris falling to the ground at the end of a satellite’s mission. This innovation provides many new opportunities for designing satellite structures that meet several functional requirements, while improving demisability and thereby human safety, in a cost-efficient and sustainable package
  • Versatile: radio-transparent, near-zero CTE, high vibration damping
  • Resilient: high resistance against UV, cryo-temp, fatigue and thermal cycling
  • Economical: sustainable and cost efficient materials for a fast- growing industry
  • Sustainability: Natural fibre composites not only require much less fossil energy to produce than carbon fibres and aluminium, they also sequestrate CO2 from the atmosphere by virtue of growing through photosynthesis (about 1.4 kg CO2 / kg of natural fibres). A cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment on the complete panel structure was conducted with the help of sustainability experts at Quantis, to determine that out of 16 impacts indicators evaluated, 14 were improved over a standard aluminium reference, by 15-80%. Depending on realistic assumptions on processes, the CO2 emissions were reduced by 20% (worst case) and up to 70% (best case).

Companies: Bcomp

Industries: Aerospace

Terms: Applications, Innovations, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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