Graphene Space Habitat Puts Manchester On ISS Replacement Map10th Sep 2022
Manchester is on track to become a hub for the development of future space habitats. The city could potentially pave the way toward a space station built in the UK. This is thanks to Graphene Space Habitat Limited, a firm that is aiming to harness the exceptional properties of 2D materials to generate revolutionary orbital structures.
Winning the new space race
The CEO of the company, materials scientist Dr. Vivek Koncherry, has been speaking to the Express about Graphene Space Habitat’s plans to put their £50,000 grant to good use. He believes now is the time to strike:
“As you know, the International Space Station (ISS) is retiring, and there is a new space race.”
The firm, which is based at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre at the University of Manchester, was awarded the grant from the Eli & Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Awards.
Their objective is to deal with the logistical issues we currently face in terms of getting materials into orbit.
Dr. Koncherry noted:
“Weight saving is a key thing with our structure.
“What we are doing is making the materials for the new space stations with graphene and other lightweight structures.”
Graphene for a next-gen space station
Graphene Space Habitat has already joined forces with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. This is the global architecture powerhouse behind the world’s tallest building; Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. They are working together on designing a graphene-enhanced space station.
Not only will the space station be lightweight, but 2D materials like MXenes and graphene have a number of different properties that make them the perfect choice for constructing space habitats. These characteristics are currently being tested out with the use of scaled-down models.
The extreme temperature variations encountered in space are one of the biggest issues the firms are currently facing. Dr. Koncherry has spoken about graphene’s properties in this regard:
“Graphene is the best conductor of heat. So, we are using graphene to dissipate heat around the structure [and] lightweight aerogel material for insulation.”