Space, the final frontier Not content with solving aviation problems on planet Earth, Barrett Aerospace is also building new and advanced flying systems for vacuum environments, such as space. Despite the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Barrett Aerospace has teamed with a mathematics professor in Vienna, Austria, and an entrepreneur in Buffalo, New York, to develop an exciting breakthrough experimental spacecraft. The secret design for this spacecraft is currently under wraps, but this project is pushing the conventional boundaries of composite technology. It will rely on the formulation of new materials and Barrett Aerospace’s uniquely hybrid approach to combine materials with the right properties. Underlining the significance of this project, this new and experimental spacecraft is being designed to be ultralight while maintaining integrity within a pure vacuum environment and to withstand a significant load factor. This will be achieved through mathematical calculations, computer simulated dynamics and extensive empirical testing. This project is a potential world first which, if all goes to plan, will see initial trials in late 2021. Spacecraft behave very differently in space compared to behaviours in Earth’s atmosphere so, to design space craft that will work, space simulation chambers are used to recreate the thermal and vacuum environmental conditions. This means that spacecraft components and materials can be tested in advance. Space simulation chambers also analyse whole spacecraft behaviour, evaluating thermal balance and functionalities to ensure mission success and survivability. Build and testing for this new, experimental craft will be done in Europe, but all design work will take place by the Barrett Aerospace team in Singapore. “The company is working in this exciting development on a privately funded basis, but with all the detail and testing that would be expected from a much larger project. This kind of challenge and the associated risks involved, aligns well with the enquiring mindset, vision and values of the Barrett Aerospace team” remarked Laurence. Stay safe and go green The coronavirus pandemic has thrown up an unexpected requirement in the form of totally new, electric personal mobility vehicles, something the Barrett Aerospace team is exploring. Several Indian- based projects are in development to bring shared mobility to a new consumer demographic: people for whom personal transport has been unaffordable up to now. The pandemic has opened up this market as fewer people are prepared to risk travelling on crowded public transport whilst the virus is widespread. Barrett Aerospace is working with Indian partner organisation IndoShell Mould Limited to develop the next generation of smart electric (green) mobile transportation. IndoShell is a well-established manufacturer of cast parts for both the motorcycle and the automotive industry. As the world moves away from petrol and diesel engines, this company is diversifying into electric mobility to carve a new niche for itself. Furthermore, it is moving up, from being a tier 2 supplier to becoming a vehicle manufacturer in its own right. Barrett Aerospace is developing a number of new concept electric vehicles with IndoShell. This includes a new generation of lightweight composite scooters, a three wheeled vehicle - that might one day replace the affectionately respected auto rickshaw - and even a small, family micro-car for the Indian market. Together with Bangalore-based bike rental start-up Bounce, this innovative partnership has already developed the very first smart electric scooters for the growing ride-share market. Covid-19 has accelerated this market in India, forcing commuters and those with more disposable income to buy their own personal transport, to avoid the risks of riding on crowded trains and buses with other passengers. Thus, the Indian market for two-wheelers has surged in 2020. Even the second-hand market has now exhausted its existing stock and is struggling to meet the burgeoning demand. Manufacturers are currently unable to work fast enough to fulfil the current requirement, so IndoShell is retrofitting electric motors into conventional scooters to provide instant green mobility to its customers. Barrett Aerospace has mentored one fortunate Brunel University third year engineering student on the placement of a lifetime, working on developing this new electric scooter with IndoShell and re-engineering the petrol to electric conversion of hundreds of scooters in India. “ Asia is a marvel of ingenuity at times, none more than during the Covid-19 pandemic. ” Laurence said.