£110,000 pledged to advance sustainable aerospace research

The Aerospace Unlocking Potential (UP) program at the University of Nottingham has announced that it has pledged funding of over £110,000 to three UK companies working to improve sustainability in the aerospace sector.

Designed to help small businesses develop new technologies and solutions to make aviation greener, Aerospace UP, a £20 million scheme, is implemented by the University of Nottingham and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA ), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and Midlands Engine.

Space debris in low Earth orbit damages existing spacecraft, which means satellites require higher and more expensive orbits. Space Resource Laboratory Ltd’s solution, Project Aryabhat, involves the development of a propulsion system consisting of a thruster, fuel tank and avionics control system that can be installed in a satellite and provide deorbiting solution, minimizing remnants left in orbit at the end of the spacecraft’s life cycle.

Meanwhile, Holscot Fluropolymers Ltd is working on the production of FEP bladders which will equip the propulsion tanks of nano, micro and small satellites. FEP bladders are a lighter and more compatible alternative to metal tanks, which are potentially refillable and reusable in orbit, helping to minimize waste in space in low orbit.

Finally, XCAM is developing a device that allows its prototype Particle Falling Monitor (PFO) to detect and analyze more complex particles. The new monitor will include the ability to use neural networks for in-space analysis which will ultimately minimize the limitations inherent in downlinking data to Earth.

Professor Serhiy Bozhko, Director of the Institute of Aerospace Technology (IAT) at the University of Nottingham, said: “As the theme for this year’s World Space Week is ‘Space and Sustainability’, we have thought this would be the perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on companies working to make the world of aerospace greener.

Professor Bozhko continued: “At a time when the road to net zero is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it is great to see the innovative and fascinating solutions that Holscot Fluropolymers Ltd, XCAM and Space Resource Lab Ltd are creating. to minimize the environmental impact of the space. exploration.”

The program not only provides funding for projects, but also offers small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) unique access to industry experts, academic support and facilities that would otherwise have been inaccessible.

Professor Pat Wheeler, Global Director of the Institute for Aerospace Technology at the University of Nottingham adds: It is with great pleasure that we can support industry through the Aerospace UP programme. We are leading the way in translating our pioneering net-zero aviation research into real-world applications by supporting the aerospace supply chain to build capacity for innovation.

Andrew Mair, Managing Director of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, concludes: “We are proud to award grants to great companies, supporting the development of excellent solutions they deliver. This is a pivotal time for recovery, as the supply chain provides a critical foundation to drive innovation at deep levels, ensuring the industry can thrive into the future.

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