AAC Clyde Space to design Space Forge platform, for in-space production and return to Earth
AAC Clyde Space has been commissioned by British Space Forge to design a satellite platform that is to take advantage of the space environment for production in-orbit. The satellite is intended to stay in-orbit for six months and thereafter descend on Earth for the product to be delivered to customers. This order for the first phase of a potential larger project with a value of 0.1 million GBP (approx. 1.3 MSEK) and scheduled for delivery in March 2021.
AAC Clyde Space will develop a satellite design based on its current standard satellite platforms, adjusting it for re-entry into the atmosphere and landing on Earth. Normally, small satellites burn as they enter the atmosphere, minimizing space debris, however Space Forge are developing technologies to enable the return of satellites from space to Earth for recovery, refurbishment and eventual re-launch. The preliminary design review (PDR) for the new satellite is scheduled for March 2021. The value of this first phase, which also includes mission design, is 0.1 million GBP (approx. 1.3 MSEK), which is financed by UK Space Agency through National Innovation Programme (NSIP).
Phase two of the project is for in-orbit production demonstration, with the ultimate goal of establishing a continuous space-based production by a monthly satellite launch. A test campaign of several satellites is planned to bring the service to commercialisation and shall be supported by AAC Clyde Space.
"In-space production is the single biggest opportunity to use space to create benefits back on Earth. Our technology enables at-scale in-space production and return. We're excited to partner with AAC Clyde Space on our platform development, they bring the perfect mix of innovative engineering and satellite heritage", says Space Forge CEO Joshua Western.
"Space-based production is no longer science fiction. It is cutting-edge, but well within reach and with standardized small satellite technology even compelling from a business perspective. We are proud to push the frontiers of space technology with Space Forge as it again moves closer to Earth", says AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes.