When the satellite ForgeStar-0 blasts off into space later this month, the outcome could literally send Space Forge into a whole new stratosphere.

Space Forge is the brainchild of CEO Joshua Western and CTO Andrew Bacon and is on a mission to ‘harness the benefits of space for life on Earth’.

The Welsh startup attracted international attention when it raised a record £7.6m in seed funding for a European space company in December 2021.

Space Forge is building upon reliable research from the International Space Station (ISS) that will hopefully enable it to make materials in space on a larger scale than previously seen.

Western tells BusinessCloud: “There are lots of reasons for this. In space you have access to microgravity, high purity vacuums, so there’s less contamination and access to lower temperature.

“We looked at what was happening on the ISS and decided ‘why don’t we make our own scalable, returnable vehicle that can manufacture things in space?’ That was the idea for Space Forge.”

Is this the future of life in space?

Products like semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and advanced materials could be more valuable if they’re made in space.

Space Forge operate out of a repurposed food truck facility and if they’re right, they could transform the world of manufacturing as we know it and bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘made in space’.

Josh Western and Andrew Bacon, Space Forge

Josh Western and Andrew Bacon, Space Forge

All of which goes a long way to explain why the launch of ForgeStar-0 is such a pivotal moment.

It will be the company’s first foray into space and is seen by many as a dress rehearsal for future satellite missions that will return and land on Earth.

ForgeStar-0, which is the first satellite designed and built in Wales, will be launched from Spaceport Cornwall on Virgin Orbit’s Start Me Up launch at an unconfirmed date in November 2022.

November’s mission is designed to test Space Forge’s heat shield so that future operational missions will protect a satellite travelling through the extreme heat created as it re-enters the atmosphere.

Andrew Bacon, chief technology officer and co-founder at Space Forge, explained: “We’re committed to sustainability. Ultimately what we’re looking to do is bring the satellite back to Earth. ForgeStar-0 will technically fail but we’ll take the learnings from that and apply them to future missions.

“We’ll take some photos and then the satellite will burn up in the atmosphere and we’ll be tracking exactly how it fails.

“Then we can have all the data to tweak our final design for the ForgeStar-1 launch.

“It will bring us one step closer to launching a satellite into space with manufacturing capabilities on board.”

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By the end of the decade Space Forge hope to be carrying out 100 launches a year.

“Our heat shields could potentially be used to help return payloads to other planets as well,” admitted Western. “It’s so exciting.”