To deliver the project, Space Forge will lead a consortium including Clyde Space, Goonhilly Earth Station, the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The funding will also enable Space Forge, which specialises in designing reusable satellites, to benefit from ESA’s pioneering facilities, technical teams and business networks.
Scheduled for launch in 2022, FSOV-1 will test multiple functions including return-to-Earth technology and tracking software and enable Space Forge to use the space environment to make new material structures that cannot be manufactured on Earth.
The FSOV-1 vehicle is being built in Space Forge’s design and manufacturing site at Eastgate Business Park in Cardiff. The site currently employs 17 people – a team that has grown from two in just sixteen months. Space Forge is looking to expand further, creating another 10 job roles within the next six to eight months to cater for the growing market for UK launch.
The UK invested £12 million into the Boost! programme, one of the largest investments from ESA member states, in 2019. Scottish space companies Orbex and Skyrora, as well as D-Orbit which has a subsidiary in Harwell in Oxfordshire, have also secured Boost! funding.
“New small satellite constellations will improve our access to data and communications services and revolutionise satellite navigation and Earth observation,” says Space Forge CEO and co-founder Josh Western.