Iconic moment for space development as UK’s Space Forge and Australia’s Southern Launch join forces
UK-based Space Forge is on a mission to make space work for humanity by harnessing the power of microgravity; offering an on demand service to advance the expansion of the in-space manufacturing market for the research and production of new super materials that aim to tackle some of the biggest problems faced by modern society.
To enable this service they are developing a world-first service incorporating both launch and return of a new small class of vehicle - the ForgeStar™ - that can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure. Space Forge will launch their ForgeStar-1A satellite later this year, where they will prove their re-entry capabilities.
At over 10,000 square kilometres (half the size of Space Forge’s home country Wales) the Koonibba Test Range is one of the world’s largest commercial rocket testing facilities. The size and geographical location in line with sun-synchronous orbits makes it an ideal location for Space Forge to target as their re-entry point for the ForgeStar satellite.
Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp comments on the MOU, ‘This agreement with Space Forge heralds a new era in the Australian space industry. It’s a definitive step forward in showcasing to the world the expertise and natural advantages we have right here in South Australia.’
The circular nature of Space Forge’s business model opens a world of opportunities for the wider Australian space industry. Lloyd adds, ‘Space Forge will be looking to refurbish and launch their satellites as close as possible to the re-entry point. Our Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex is the natural solution for a launch site, and we will be exploring this option with Space Forge throughout the MoU process. Our hope is to provide a complete solution for Space Forge which creates further opportunities for the wider industry.’
Joshua Western, CEO and Co-Founder of Space Forge: “This partnership is a fantastic example of international collaboration - working together for the benefit of the global space industry.
“The size and location of the Koonibba Test Range as a Southern Hemisphere re-entry point for our ForgeStar satellite make it an ideal option for our business model and this partnership has great potential to bring economic growth and cutting-edge technologies to both the UK and Australia. We are delighted to be announcing our collaboration and excited to grow our relationship with Lloyd and the team at Southern Launch.”
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the global Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs and was witnessed by the head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo and Rebecca Evernden, Director of Space for the UK Government.
Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency commented, “This is another signal of the strong relationship between Australia and the UK. It demonstrates that our nation is a great place to do space, and has established companies like Southern Launch that are reliable partners to do business with.
"Importantly, Space Forge is looking to not just launch from Australia but also to bring economic benefit, payload refurbishment, job opportunities and cutting edge space technologies to our shores.”
Science and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan commented on the partnership:“This agreement between Space Forge and Southern Launch is just another example of the UK’s £17.5bn space sector continuing to thrive, with UK companies forging partnerships and delivering services on the global stage.
“It also represents a significant milestone in the UK-Australia relationship, with leading companies from both countries joining forces to advance their respective space sectors – driving growth, jobs and improving lives on both ends of the globe.”
Space Forge and Southern Launch will collaborate on the MoU over the coming months and hope to announce a joint mission before the end of the year.