National security is shared security. And shared economic prosperity. 

With the global semiconductor (chips) industry anticipated to grow to $1 trillion in revenue by 2030, our novel in-space manufacturing tech is well positioned to help the UK claim a substantial stake through the production of hyper-efficient chips. The unique conditions in space – microgravity, the natural vacuum, zero contamination – allow us to support the production of semiconductors with fewer defects and therefore superior performance.

Aside from the economic benefits the UK stands to gain, in-space manufacturing presents us with some incredible opportunities to radically improve defence supply chains, and in doing so, provide cutting-edge solutions to increasingly complex national and international defence problems.

Semiconductors are critical components of defence communications systems across the Armed Forces, which is why we’re delighted to have been awarded £499,000 as part of a collaborative project with Northrop Grumman under the MOD's Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP). The DTEP “aims to inspire companies to win new business, develop industrial capabilities, and provide new cutting-edge answers to defence problems at home and abroad, ensuring the UK expands its competitive, pioneering and world-class defence and security industries.”

The potential multi-sector applications of materials manufactured extraterrestrially is limitless. But as seen with many enterprising and innovative businesses, ensuring go-to-market success is a sticking point. That’s where significant investment from future facing initiatives (like DTEP) becomes critical. Under our new collaborative agreement facilitated by the programme, we’ve got an incredible opportunity to develop potential concepts of operation for future space-based manufacturing with Northrop Grumman.

As leaders in ‘Defining the Possible’ for space, aeronautics, defence, and cyberspace clients through the creation and delivery of advanced systems, products and services, we’re excited to work together and take advantage of their expert business and technical advice. Including activities like microelectronics workshops, collaborative design reviews, material testing and characterization. 

Steve Krein, Vice President of Civil and Commercial Space at Northrop Grumman said:

“Manufacturing in orbit has the potential to open up a wide range of opportunities across multiple industrial sectors. As a global leader in space exploration and in-orbit servicing, we look forward to collaborating with Space Forge to further develop this emerging market.”

It’s an exciting time at Space Forge HQ and an incredible opportunity to help the UK expand its competitive, pioneering and world-class defence and security industries – and beyond. The future of in-space manufacturing is looking bright!