Kevin Doherty, Ireland

Kevin holds a BE in mechanical/materials engineering from the University College Dublin, and has experience in fields ranging from bio-pharmaceuticals to ballistic forensics. Following graduation in 2012, he embarked upon a PhD programme in the field of aero/astro engineering, co-funded by the Irish Research Council and industrial partners ENBIO Ltd.

Over the course of three years, and in close collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), Kevin's work has led to the development of new thermal control materials for use on scientific and commercial spacecraft, with first launches expected as early as 2016. The primary focus of his PhD is centred on ESA's Solar Orbiter, Europe's first mission to the sun, which is currently expected to be launched from Cape Canaveral in October 2018.

New thermal control material systems for interplanetary and geosynchronous spaceflight

Thermal control is one of the most challenging technical aspects of spacecraft and mission design. As spacecraft continue to gain in mass and complexity over ever-increasing mission durations, the importance of robust thermal control technologies is only set to increase.

This talk describes the design and development of a new thermal control material system for use on the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter, one of the most thermally challenging missions in history. The material, a solar reflector coating known as SolarWhite, will passively regulate the spacecraft's surface temperature through a combination of reflection and emission of solar radiation. Additionally, the material is capable of dissipating electrostatic charge, formed upon exposure to the solar wind, thereby preventing electrical arcing over mission critical hardware/instrumentation.

In addition to Solar Orbiter, SolarWhite is currently under investigation for use on Europe's next generation telecommunications platform under the ARTES14 Neosat programme.

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