The main purpose of this project is to create an European Supplying Unit for one of the Critical Space Technologies for Europoean Strategic Non-Dependence, the advanced thermal control materials. Currently, the thermal protection of the hardware of spacecrafts is assured by underlying advanced thermal control materials, typically Multi Layer Insulations (MLI). One of the basic materials for MLI, the Kapton, is used in several thermal control applications and easily falls under access restrictions. In this project it is intended to develope the manufacturing technology for the material that is considered to be the next generation of thermal insulation in space, the aerogel. Aerogels are the materials with the greater potential to substitute MLI in thermal insulation of spacecrafts, due to its very low density, its veryt high thermal insulation efficiencies, the providing of the thermal insulation as single material that can be industrially producible and the tailorability for different applications. The combination of the know-how of the entities involved in the proposal, which cover the research and development of aerogels at a laboratory scale, the design and construction of semi-industrial equipments for aerogels manufacture, and the design, integration and qualification of thermal insulation materials inspace applications, will create tremendous synergies to put Europe in a front position as a supplier of the material that is likely to be the future of the thermal insulation in space. The collaborative efforts of the partners, which have already been working in the development of these systems in the last few years, is expected to allow establishing in Europe on a shor-term the required technical capabilities to supply aerogels for space applications, such as (re)-entry vehicles, Mars rovers, cryogenic propulsion tanks, or pressurised compartments.
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