Will the next generation of British Manufacturing happen in Outer Space?
Space Forge – the organisation leading the space manufacturing revolution – has secured a £600k of funding package from the Development Bank of Wales, alongside Bristol Private Equity Club and Innovate UK. This funding will help the company continue developing their reusable manufacturing satellite, ramp up their capability in Newport, Wales and Bristol and build upon UK and European partnership schemes. Space Forge’s vision is to harness the power of Space by manufacturing high-performance products impossible to produce on Earth, which work to decrease energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The permanent microgravity only found in space enables billions of new alloys to be made that were previously out of reach for humanity. By bringing them back to Earth these alloys could revolutionise renewable energy, transport and computing industries. It is hoped this far-reaching technology will eventually enable space manufacture to be a viable option for the variety of products that will help create a modern clean society and radically reduce global carbon emissions. The satellites would be engineered with the planet in mind too, as the first ever reusable satellites that can be refurbished and launched again, rather than burning up in the atmosphere. Although Space Forge aims for the hard labour to happen in Space, the company is creating jobs with the new funding. Co-founders, Joshua Western and Andrew Bacon plan to onboard 10 new team members across Newport and Bristol to develop the satellite project to a test launch position. Space Forge will be working with European and International partners, but is focussed on doing as much as possible in the UK to reduce carbon footprints, with the future hope of launch, refurbishment and return of satellites all inside the UK. Joshua Western, co-founder of Space Forge said: “It is amazing to receive this funding at such a critical time for our company. Both investments will help us create jobs in our key technologies across our base in Wales and new design hub in Bristol. This funding will help us accelerate the development of critical technologies and carry out key testing. We need as much support as possible and are on the lookout for investors for future opportunities. Who wants to come to space with us?” Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at UKSA commented: “With support networks, funding opportunities and business advice available across the country, the UK space sector is a great place for start-ups like Space Forge to grow and create high-skilled jobs. “This new investment will help Space Forge develop innovative new space technologies to improve manufacturing processes here on Earth. It is another fantastic example of the UK’s thriving commercial space sector, which employs 42,000 people and generates £14.8bn for the economy.” Established in the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in Newport – a hotspot for UK innovation – Space Forge explored funding options close to home first, working with the Development Bank of Wales and The Bristol Private Equity Club. David Blake, Technology Investment Executive at Development Bank of Wales commented: “Space Forge’s commitment to sustainability from outer-space is an exceptionally innovative approach to solving global needs. The Space Forge team is ideally placed to play an influential role in the development of this sector over the coming years. Our equity investment through the Wales Technology Seed Fund will help the business to develop its technology and create highly skilled jobs at the CSA Catapult Innovation Centre in Newport.”. Jerry Barnes, founder of Bristol Private Equity Club, commented: “This is exactly the type of innovative and entrepreneurial business that our members look for. We can see that it has the potential to be incredibly successful and change the world. There are only three businesses in the world working on this and for Bristol to be at the hub of the only one in Europe is very exciting. “Space Forge presented their ideas to our members and 12 of them wanted to get involved. Among those investing are Peter Stirling of Stirling Dynamics and Rupert Atkinson, who have both worked with technology start-ups and will add great expertise to the project.”