ESA partners with renewable fiber company Bcomp to test natural fibers for use in space

European Space Agency to test natural-fiber composite materials for use in more environmentally friendly satellites.

 

Renewable fiber composites company Bcomp (Fribourg, Switzerland) announced Feb 26. it has signed a 2-year contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to participate in the ESA Clean Space initiative. The goal of the program is to reduce the environmental impact of space exploration by producing less space debris and removing that which is in orbit.

As part of this program, two of Bcomp’s natural-fiber materials, AmpliTex technical fabrics and PowerRibs reinforcements, will be tested under conditions comparable to those in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Tests will include resistance to extreme temperatures (from -150 to +150°C) and the UV radiations found in the earth’s orbit. Other tests, conducted in plasma tunnels, will determine if the materials will completely burn up in the atmosphere once the mission is over. In time, Bcomp’s natural materials could be used for building satellites with a decreased eco footprint.