The focus of the Space and Aviation challenge is to identify, develop and apply metamaterials solutions to a broad range of priorities within these areas. It brings together expertise from a diverse range of academics, industries and other stakeholders, from across all of the network’s SIGs and beyond. One of its key components is to work with stakeholders to identify potential application areas and to ensure that resulting metamaterial solutions overcome the barriers for use in the Space and Aviation sectors. Another is to directly make connections between researchers in academia and relevant stakeholders and support relevant research applications.
Discussions around a Space challenge was initiated at the inaugural UK Metamaterials conference in 2022. This led to the formulation of the two themes which align to UK, European and other Space agency goals, such as supporting Space science and Earth observation, making access to Space sustainable, safe and easy and providing a resilient and fair-for-all communication infrastructure. The first of two themes in this challenge is Spacecraft Performance, which is further sub-divided into Communication, Propulsion, Power generation, Impact protection, Structural response and Thermal control. The second theme is Observation and Sensing, which includes all aspects of observation and sensing associated with space applications, including observation of the near and far space environment from space and the ground, observation of Earth from Space and spacecraft operational sensing.
A key sector for metamaterials is Aviation, both civil and defence. The Aviation sector has been one of the key early adopters of metamaterials technology, which has broad potential across a number of areas, such as low observable aircraft, safety systems and sustainable air travel. Future events and interaction with key stakeholders will shape the key themes in this area.
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