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Antennas and sunlight-cooling nanoparticles win top Florida-Israel space prize

Space Florida, Israel Innovation Authority announce four winners of program to promote US-Israeli R&D projects in the field of aerospace and related technologies

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

A SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule attached, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39-A, November 15, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
A SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule attached, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39-A, November 15, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Among the aerospace technologies that have won funding from a joint research and development program set up by Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority are an innovative antenna for satellites and nanoparticle materials to cool down objects using sunlight.

Space Florida, the aerospace and space development authority for the State of Florida, and the Israel Innovation Authority, in charge of fostering Israel’s tech ecosystem, on Monday announced the four winners of the program to promote joint US-Israeli R&D projects in the field of aerospace and related technology.

Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program was set up in October 2013 with a $2 million recurring joint fund to support research, development, and commercialization of aerospace and other technology projects that benefit both Israel and Florida.

For the latest funding round, the program’s eighth, 20 joint proposals were submitted by teams of for-profit companies in Florida and Israel, out of which the four winning teams were selected.

“Florida’s space industry is rich in innovation, research and development, and collaborations like the program with Israel help to ensure a bright future in space,” said Florida’s lieutenant governor Jeanette Nuñez. “I look forward to seeing the results from this year’s winning companies.”

The winners are:

Craig Technologies (Merritt Island, Florida) & MTI Wireless Edge (Israel) for the development of an innovative antenna that can be used for space-ground and space-space applications. The existing antenna will be electrically adapted for the required satellite communication frequency band and mechanically redesigned to meet the space environmental requirements. The re-engineering of the existing antenna will provide small satellite manufacturers with additional options.

Everix Optical Filters (Orlando, Florida) & SolCold (Israel) for innovative nanoparticle materials using a dichroic filter to cool down objects using sunlight. With this award, Everix will focus on optimizing the Everix production processes to create the filter-size needed, and SolCold will scale up its cooling particles for the commercialization of SolCold’s cooling-by-sunlight products

Redwire Space (formerly Made In Space), Jacksonville, Florida & StemRad (Israel) for a project focusing on conducting on-orbit additive manufacturing of personal radiation shielding vest components from recycled polyethylene. Redwire Space and StemRad will recycle polyethylene from packaging waste into filament for on-orbit additive manufacturing of polyethylene shielding inserts for StemRad’s personal radiation protection vests.

LightPath Technologies (Orlando, Florida) & RP Optical Lab (Israel) will develop and design an opto-electronics thermal imaging (OETI) module installed on nano/microsatellites. The OETI module will be based on a new developed space-qualified broadband, compact, lightweight, modular, cryogenically cooled infrared motorized camera, utilizing IR optical lens substrates, space-compatible broadband telescope lens and video electronics. The joint team’s goal will be the successful space environmental qualification of these cameras.

“Since its inception in 2013, the Israel-Florida collaboration on space related technologies has managed to produce great projects that could truly make a difference in the aerospace sector,” said Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, which is also in charge of setting out Israel’s tech policies. There was an increase in applications this year compared to the previous year, he said, noting the “high quality” of the submissions.

“We strongly believe that the partnership between Florida and Israel, and the success of this collaboration between companies from both countries will further strengthen the ties between the two countries and economies,” Appelbaum said. “We wish much success to the winning teams and companies and look forward to the amazing changes they will make on our world and beyond.”

The next joint call for applications is expected to be released in September 2021, the two organizations said in a statement.

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