UNIVERSITY researchers are making waves in the space industry thanks to its work with graphene.

In the first experiment of its kind, staff at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are exploring the practical applications of exploiting graphene in the UK space industry.

This has been achieved through the launch of specially designed graphene-enhanced carbon fibre material into near space using high altitude balloons.

By comparing a graphene-enhanced carbon fibre to a standard carbon fibre casing, researchers will be able to test how both react to extreme conditions high above the Earth.

They will then compare the results to determine how graphene can be utilised in space.

Professor Robert Walsh, Professor of Astrophysics at UCLan, added: “Our mission was very successful, both casings were recovered and we are now in the process of analysing the flight data to explore how graphene could play a key role in the future of space exploration.”

The programme is led by UCLan, who have a campus in Princess Way, Burnley and part-funded by the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme.