National Physical Laboratory

Encyclopedia for space nanomaterials

NPL's nanomaterials group will lead a new consortium to identify the next generation of nano and 'smart' materials to be used in future space missions.

Water droplet

The weight of spacecraft is a key factor in the overall cost of any space mission. Identifying better, lighter and more efficient materials and the best ways of using them will have a huge impact on the space programme.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has appointed NPL to survey nanotechnology capabilities in Europe. NPL's Nanomaterials group will lead a consortium to identify the next generation of nano and smart materials that will be used in future space missions.

The NPL-led consortium will help ESA to identify nanomaterials companies with potential to contribute to the future of satellite navigation and earth observation. Furthermore, it will define how these materials can add value to real space applications. High quality and thoroughly tested smart materials will play a much greater role in future applications.

The National Physical Laboratory will be joined in the consortium by specialist space consultancy ESYS and the Institute of Nanotechnology. The consortium's report is due in August 2009. It will allow ESA to review potential applications of nanomaterials for space applications and missions and quantify the resulting improvements.

Find out more about NPL's Nanomaterials research

Last Updated: 6 Jun 2013
Created: 1 Feb 2011