Winner of the Sustainable Exploration Prize
by Airbus and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Golden Fleece is an intelligent solar sail concept.
Its active structure provides increased control and performance and allows partial integration of spacecraft electronics with the sail base.
The target production method assumes coating with nanophase materials extracted in-situ from asteroids. It solves the problem of the absence of volatiles for in-situ propellant production on bodies where only metallic materials are present. It allows overall craft mass reduction and transporting of the raw material in a form of coating to the target location, where it is recycled. Cargo becomes a propellant. The technology is developed for present deep space system integrators, future space mining and exploration integrators, as well as for EX-PL Consortium ARGO FLEET space mining probes. Traditional coating technologies, such as ink jet and spray tech, will be adapted to space conditions. The concept also allows for the efficient production of flexible electronics on Earth, in-situ and in-orbit, including space spare parts, as well as the development of recycling in space.
Golden Fleece can be adapted to efficient deorbit sails for direct commercialisation on satellite constellations.
• Increased control of solar sails and in-orbit production and repairs
• Reduced mass of deep space probes and Earth satellites by integrating systems, propulsion and cargo container in a single structure
• In-orbit industry relieves pressure on the Earth environment
«Our prize winner Golden Fleece tackles important areas of sustainable space exploration, relevant for space & Earth: From in-space & additive manufacturing, to stretchable electronics, coatings, and organic photovoltaic – utilising in-situ resources and cross-industry know-how. We are sure that Airbus and Merck can help bring the project to the next level, supporting through experts and coordinated accelerator programmes at both companies.
The prize winner’s journey starts with the cross-industry X-Innovation Summit in Dubai in November 2017.»
Matthias A. Simnacher
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany