Space Forge Launch To Make The UK A ‘Space Superpower’

24th Jun 2022
Space Forge Launch To Make The UK A ‘Space Superpower’

Later this summer, we will see the first rocket launch from the United Kingdom. Among other satellites, it will carry a prototype space factory from Space Forge that can create materials that are not possible to make on Earth.

Space Forge, a Welsh start-up, will utilise the vacuum and microgravity of space to make lighter yet stronger metal alloys and incredibly efficient semiconductors. The company has stated that the products created in orbit could be widespread within a five-year period, in everything from the electricity grid to aircraft engines. 

Testing the Space Forge plan with a launch in September

To test their plan, Space Forge is going to launch a satellite on a rocket that will lift off in September from Spaceport Cornwall. The spaceport is situated at Newquay Airport and is the first of its kind in Europe. 

A Virgin Orbit Boeing 747 is going to take off from the same runway from which holiday jets take off. It will carry a rocket under its wing and release it when at 35,000 feet. 

The co-founder of Space Forge, Andrew Bacon, has stated that with the launch, the UK will turn into a “true space superpower”.

“Being able to launch from your home country is going to make a big difference.

“If you want to build a reliable, sustainable supply chain based in space, you can’t be flying to the other side of the world to source your materials when you want to make something.

“You want to launch and return here and use those products where they are needed.”

Speaking about the economics of the project, he said the following: 

“The price of launch has come down massively. Typically it used to cost $20,000 (£16,500) per kilogram. These days you can get as low as $1,000 (£830).

“There are materials out there worth way more. Nickel-based alloys used in aircraft turbines can cost $100,000 a kg. So the economics (of space manufacturing) start to work because the price of launch has come down so much.”

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