The UK has awarded aerospace startup Space Forge 499,000 pounds ($611,000) to build the world’s first manufacturing platform in space to create crucial components of defense capabilities.
Production will include semiconductors for radars and frontline communications systems sent back to Earth, boosting UK Armed Forces supply chains.
The space-produced alloys, electronics, and other materials will be considered “pure” because of access to extreme temperatures and lack of contamination, unlike parts developed on Earth.
Collaboration With Northrop
Space Forge will collaborate with Northrop Grumman under the MoD’s Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP), an initiative that promotes local businesses’ cutting-edge technologies that improve the country’s defense capabilities.
“This is an incredibly exciting partnership for Space Forge, to be working with Northrop Grumman to secure defence supply chains for the Ministry of Defence is an important step in demonstrating the utility of in-space manufacturing,” Space Forge CEO and co-founder Joshua Western shared.
“National security is shared security and this Atlantic partnership is a keystone in building new capabilities and prosperity.”
Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge stressed the importance of paving the way for new defense structures for the UK.
“The work taking place at Space Forge, and other [small and medium-sized enterprises], is paramount to the success of our future operations. We are committed to supporting their endeavours to ensure our defence capabilities remain at the forefront of technological innovation,” he said.
Through the agreement, DTEP aims to inspire other companies to win new businesses and develop industrial advances to answer the UK’s need for defense growth.