Zero Gravity Graphene – Satellite Loop Heat Pipes – the Flight


It was amazing, the feeling is incredible and it’s extremely interesting to do experiments in these kind of conditions but also to enjoy the free-floating zone. The whole experience was really great. We had in total 11 and a half minutes of weightlessness in shots of about 22 seconds each, and it’s really exhilarating, it’s difficult to describe. It’s a very peaceful and very nice experience. Graphene as we know has a lot of opportunities, one of them, recognised early on, is space applications, and this will be the first time that graphene is tested in space-like applications, worldwide. I think this is a very nice example of how the Flagship is is working. Bringing together three academic partners and one big industry with a clearly defined goal for an application. If it is successful, industry will really have a real application, we will have developed a new technology, and the Flagship will have produced a big result for Europe This experiment is on satellite loop heat pipes. The idea is to transport heat from one place to another, you can do it over really long distances and we really want to be able to use these in space. And in fact, they’re used now, but what we’re trying to do is improve the material so you can get better results. We are aiming at an increased lifetime and an improved autonomy of the satellites and space probes. By adding graphene, we will have a more reliable loop heat pipe, capable to operate autonomously in space. Basically, we are testing graphene-based loop heat pipes in the zero-g environment to see if graphene makes the loop heat pipes better, because it does make them better in the ground conditions. We know that for aerospace applications, the satellites are in free-fall around the earth. So, if something will change, we want to know, to understand if there will be problems now, and if, really, our loop heat pipe will work or not. In the case of the parabolic flight, the manoeuvre is done in order to create a state of free fall. And during this free fall period the object inside the plane will feel as if there is an absence of gravity. Always, there’s some elation when challenging adversity and succeeding. We’ve all been working very hard in order to make this project successful and I feel that we’re reaching the conclusion of that today.

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