U.K.-based Space Forge, which specializes in space-based super materials manufacturing, announced today it is launching operations in the United States. The company, which currently has administrative offices in Washington, D.C., is considering several states for the site of the U.S.-based manufacturing headquarters that will support this expansion.
The company’s announcement marks a strategic move to expand and strengthen its manufacturing partnerships, capitalizing on growing U.S. interest in super materials, and especially semiconductors. This interest is driven by space’s optimal production environment, characterized by zero gravity, extreme temperatures, and vacuum conditions, which yields materials that are purer and have fewer defects.
“The appetite for in-space manufacturing of semiconductors in particular is strong and growing, fueled by commercial and defense initiatives such as the AUKUS Alliance,” noted Space Forge CEO Joshua Western. The AUKUS Alliance, a security partnership between the U.S., U.K. and Australia reached in September 2021, has increased demand for semiconductors used in defense systems. “As we field more interest in our ability to produce super materials, production capabilities in one of the world’s largest semiconductor markets is a logical next step.” The global semiconductor market, which hit $574B in 2022, is expected to reach $1T by 2030.
Space Forge, founded in 2018, has the world’s only dedicated relaunchable super materials manufacturing satellite, ForgeStar, with soft-descent and high-precision landing capabilities. This patented technology is more protective of payload returns than traditional ablative capsules used by competitors. ForgeStar, a small class vehicle deployable in orbit for up to six months, will initially focus on the production of semiconductors, alloys, and biological materials. Both ForgeStar™ vehicles and payloads for U.S. customers will be manufactured in the new U.S. facility.
“Space Forge's move to the U.S. couldn't have come at a better moment, what with the CHIPs Act and NASA's enthusiasm for in-space manufacturing,” noted Space Forge board member and investor Tarek Waked, founding partner of Type One Ventures. “The team's efforts on the ForgeStar platform are paving the way for an ‘above shore’ capability.”
Later this year, the company will undertake the industry’s first-ever manufacturing of semiconductor materials on an independent vehicle in space with the launch of ForgeStar-1A via SpaceX.