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10 October 2023

Space Forge Revolutionises Space-to-Earth Return with Reusable Satellites

Space Forge unveils patented eco-friendly re-entry system for affordable and dependable satellite returns to Earth, emphasising sustainability.

Although the cost of launching satellites into space has become lower with reusability, all current commercial space return vehicles use ablative heat shields which require replacement after every flight. Space Forge is revolutionising manufacturing using space to make super materials not possible on Earth, but the price and complexity of all existing return methods limits the range of materials that can be produced.

To ensure the return of a manufacturing satellite and its materials, a heat shield is required to prevent excessive heat transfer into a spacecraft during re-entry from Earth orbit. Current methods of protection include ablative shields which are not in general reusable, like those used on the SpaceX Dragon or silica heat tiles like the US Space Shuttle which were vulnerable to damage and required complex lift control.

Space Forge’s Pridwen heat shield uses a high temperature alloy which is large enough to radiate the heat of re-entry away without burning the material, making it fully reusable. This shield is much larger than the vehicle and so folds to fit inside the launcher using a modified origami technique.

Andrew Bacon, CTO and Co-founder of Space Forge, spoke to Green Economy Wales about the details of their Pridwen heat shield, the importance of reusing satellites for the earth, why space is the perfect manufacturing environment and what makes their approach unique.

Commenting on their approach, he said: 

“Pridwen and Fielder are key parts of our plan to develop fully reusable manufacturing satellites that can kick start a new industrial revolution.

Super materials made in space will be able to save industries on Earth enormous amounts of energy, limiting their CO2 emissions in a way their terrestrial counterparts can never match.

“We can also attach Pridwen to other satellites and land them in Fielder nets to bring them back intact to their manufacturers, eliminating space debris and allowing them to be refurbished or recycled to save money and limit their ecological impact. With our innovations, we can now unlock the full potential to help make space work for humanity.”

For more information on Space Forge, visit: 

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