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CTL Wins Contract to Evaluate Carbon Fibre Materials for Next Generation Space Launchers

12 November 2004

Composites Testing Laboratory has been awarded a major contract from the European Space Agency to evaluate new carbon fibre reinforced materials for the next generation of space launchers.

The European Space Agency contract is to evaluate and test new manufacturing methods for advanced carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites. The aim of the project is to reduce the cost of manufacturing the large liquid fuel tanks employed in space launchers such as the Ariane programme.

The contract consists of composite laminate manufacturing and mechanical and physical testing, all of which will be carried out at the company premises in Spiddal. The new thermoplastic composite materials being evaluated can be processed faster, and in a more flexible manner than existing materials, as well as having attractive mechanical and environmental properties.

Managing Director, Dr. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, welcomed the ESA contract as firmly establishing CTL Tastáil Teo. as one of the leading research and development companies in Europe in the area of lightweight, high performance, carbon fibre reinforced materials.

Mr. John Lowery, Údarás na Gaeltachta Deputy Chief Executive with responsibility for Industrial Development said, "The European Space Agency contract is a recognition of CTL's high-quality expertise as a test laboratory. Enterprises such as CTL are the bridge between the traditional/conventional industries which are in decline and the modern/new-age enterprises which we are endeavouring to attract to the Gaeltacht".

Mr. Tony Mc Donald of Enterprise Ireland, with responsibility for European Space Agency Programmes, said, "the placing of the contract by the European Space Agency is an endorsement of the high technical standards attained by the company. CTL is yet another example of emerging Irish innovative technology companies developing in the aerospace sector with the active support of the European Space Agency and Enterprise Ireland."

Earlier this week the Ariane-5 booster’s solid rocket motor was test fired in the Booster Engine Test Stand at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. This test is part of ESA’s Ariane research and technology support programme, better known as ARTA. ARTA 3’s objectives were to confirm the modifications to be implemented on the next production batch of Ariane-5 boosters to be flown in 2006.






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