GROUNDBREAKING technology invented by a Knutsford company will be crucial in launching a new space project.

Moorfield Nanotechnology, based on Parkgate industrial estate, have provided renowned artist Anilore Banon with their innovative ‘clean tent’ product which will allow the first piece of sculpture to be sent into outer space.

Launched in 1989 by founder Jon Whitehead, the family-firm focuses on design and distribution of scientific vacuum and clean room products and has previously worked with NASA to provide an environment in which to develop space equipment.

Anilore’s project team are currently working on a sculpture which will be launched to the International Space Station, testing the materials in atmospheric conditions to those on the moon.

Moorfield’s Clean Tent, a clean room in a bag, will provide a sterile environment which will ensure the art work doesn’t become contaminated and jeopardise the success of the project; which will eventually site a sculpture on the moon.

Toni Horsfield, head of the Clean Environments division at Moorfield Nanotechnology and Jon’s daughter, said: “They won’t allow anything in space that hasn’t been produced in a clean room.

“Dad invented the Clean Tent to enable him to commission the scientific machinery.

“That was where the Clean Tent was born. Then it took on a life of its own. We have other products but the clean tent is completely unique to us.”

Toni explained how the Clean Tent is capable of removing microns of dust that cannot be seen by the naked eye, but which are detrimental to making certain equipment.

“There is a substantial cost benefit to the clean tent, people can buy a medium sized tent for around £6,000 and be operating within a day,” she said. “Whereas a clean room could cost £60,000 and would take six weeks to build and another two until it is usable.

“It’s got a massive benefit. It’s a great product. We have protected it too so that we are the only company who can produce a full supporting inflatable structure.

“What’s nice about this particular project is it is not just for now, there is a real longevity of interest and we have been lucky to be involved from the early stages.”

The project is due to be launched in late 2015 for the initial testing stages.