Benchmark Space Systems Opens London Facility8th Jun 2022
U.S.-based Benchmark Space Systems has opened a new manufacturing and testing facility northwest of London. The site is in Buckinghamshire at Westcott Venture Park. Benchmark will use the facility to build and test its Halcyon and Starling reusable propulsion systems.
Benchmark recently signed a contract with Cardiff-based Space Forge to co-develop reusable propulsion systems. Space Forge is currently creating “in-space manufacturing” capabilities onboard its re-launchable and returnable ForgeStar spacecraft. With ForgeStar, they make products that are not possible to create on Earth.
Facilitating the Launch of ForgeStar-1
Benchmark will provide propulsion for ForgeStar-1, which is the first in-space manufacturing and return demonstration mission. ForgeStar-1 is a proof-of-concept mission for making products in orbit by leveraging space’s temperature extremes, ultra-high vacuum, and weightlessness.
Extra staff are currently being recruited by Benchmark and they will be based at this new facility in Buckinghamshire. By the end of the year, the company expects to have eight employees based in the UK.
Regarding the New Manufacturing and Testing Facility
The director of operations in Europe for Benchmark, Mark Author, said the following about this step forward:
“Benchmark has kicked off its UK expansion with a landmark contract with Space Forge focused on the development and delivery of reusable propulsion systems to power breakthrough manufacturing capabilities in space.
“We will leverage our team’s expertise abroad and in the USA to enable an exciting mix of missions designed to help our customers and partners around the world solve key challenges, such as in-space production, space debris and collision avoidance.”
About Benchmark Propulsion Systems
Benchmark designs propulsion systems that are scalable and tailored to the requirements of each customer. They can support a wide assortment of spacecraft of different sizes. This includes orbital transfer vehicles, spent launcher stages, lunar landers, 500kg satellites, and small CubeSats.
Benchmark have already ordered over 150 propulsion systems in the United States. Construction will take place over the coming 18 months. The business said it is currently engaged with a number of firms in both the European and UK space markets.