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  • Writer's pictureSkykraft

Thermal coating protecting satellite constellation

Capital Precision Coating

From office furniture, to shop fronts and vintage cars, Queanbeyan-based company, Capital Precision Coating (CPC) are now applying thermal finishes to satellites that are heading to space.

Protective coating by its very nature is just that, protecting the surface of what lies beneath. In Skykraft's project, CPC applied the highest performing thin film ceramic coating to the satellite chassis, lids and orbital transfer vehicle to tailor their thermal properties and help protect the materials from the harsh environment of space, once the satellites are deployed for up to 5 years.

One of the CPC team spraying the thermal coating onto part of the chassis

Roger Dudziak, Block II Mission Manager at Skykraft, commented:

"Skykraft chose Capital Precision Coating as they had the skills and know how to work with us on the application of a thermal coating that would also provide some protection from the harsh space environment. As they were also local, just across the ACT border in Queanbeyan, it meant we could deliver and work with prototypes prior to production."

The process

Called, Cerakote, this coating is commonly applied over blasted steel profiles. Skykraft tasked CPC to coat selected aluminium sheet and machined aluminium pieces. Due to the high dimensional tolerances and risk of affecting the structural integrity of the parts, standard Cerakote coating processes needed to be adjusted. The team at CPC rallied and devised a 5-stage acid pre-treatment solution, plus manual etching.

Utilising hand spraying techniques, Capital Precision Coating applied the Cerakote finish to all spacecraft chassis shells and the orbital transfer vehicle, formerly called the 'Webbersat'*.

*Webbersat is the bottom orbital transfer vehicle of the four satellite payload being launched in December 2022. It was called Webbersat as it looked like an Australian BBQ plate, and was carved out of a solid piece of aluminium.

Joseph Doherty, Director, Capital Precision Coating commented:

"Working with Roger and the engineering team to come up with a solution based off short lead times with unproven technology for the industry had it challenges. However, Skykraft provided clear and detailed information to the CPC team along with an easy going attitude which gave us the opportunity and confidence to deliver a solution that was fit for purpose in the required timeframes."

About Capital Precision Coating

Capital Precision Coating is a small business with a team of 22, specialising in powder coating, high performance ceramic coating and abrasive blasting for the Canberra and Queanbeyan region. Utilising over 30 years of industry experience in the powder coating field they have shifted focus from original powder coating techniques to align with the international custom finishing market. By maximising the use of new techniques and technologies within the powder coating industry they are using this knowledge to provide high-quality finishing to a range of industries, including aerospace.

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