THIS teddy bear has boldly gone where no teddy bear has gone before. It may be just one small step for mankind, but it’s one giant leap for Captain Bright One.

The cuddly mascot was part of a team of boffins from Brighton University who experienced weightlessness onboard a zero-gravity flight.

Captain Bright One flew with researchers as the pilot took the plane on an upward trajectory and then reduced thrust and pushed the stick to achieve weightlessness.

Dr Nicolas Miche, principal lecturer, said: “This was a serious experiment, of course, but having the bear on board added a light touch – a very light touch as it turned out.

“He was in danger of floating around so much we had to tether him down. He performed some daring somersaults as he floated to the top of the aircraft – and came down with a bump when gravity returned.

“Being weightless can turn stomachs and I must admit, the brown bear did look a tad green at the finish.”

The researchers used the European Space Agency (ESA) flights to test a ground-breaking system that has the potential to revolutionise the way heat can be managed – a crucial requirement for satellites and other space craft.

The research is being led by Professor Marco Marengo, Professor of Engineering in the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics.

He said: “Due to the complete absence of air and the violent extremes in temperature in space satellites, for example, require a thermal radiation screen in order to limit both the excessive heat from the sun and release of heat to the cold of outer space.”

His team is developing a novel “pulsating heat pipe” system which dissipates heat using an evaporator and a condenser connected through a meandering capillary tube. They needed to test the system in weightless conditions to ensure it will operate successfully when it is used in outer space.

ESA has granted the team access to the International Space Station to test the system further and it likely will travel with British astronaut Tim Peake when he undertakes his second space mission some time after 2020.

The news follows the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council granting the team £900,000 to develop the system further.

Last week’s test flight with Captain Bright One took off from an airport in Bordeaux, France.