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Born in a garage, Bristol space tech startup gets funded to develop a reusable satellite

Space Forge

Space Forge, a Bristol-based space tech startup that is designing a low-cost, reusable space satellite, has just raised funding in a seed round. However, the company did not disclose the exact funding round. 

Who backed Space Forge?

The round was led by Type One Ventures and Space Fund. Other investors including Newable Ventures, DBW, E2MC, Space.vc, Helios Capital, Virgin Galactic’s George T Whitesides, BPEC, and Voyager Space Holdings’ Dylan Taylor, also participated.

Founded by Joshua Western and Andrew Bacon in 2018, Space Forge is building a dedicated manufacturing platform called ForgeStars. 

What does Space Forge do?

The UK company will operate high cadence operations that are quickly scalable to hundreds of kgs without the need for astronauts in place for the manufacturing process. 

“Proving scale and high cadence to meet the growing demand for these novel materials in space will lead the company to ultimate success,” says the company in a press release. 

Materials that benefit from being made in weightlessness, a vacuum, or absolute zero temperatures, would be made before the satellites return back to earth. As per the company’s claims, the novel material would return to earth through a custom-made heatshield, landing in water.

Notably, the company doesn’t use any existing infrastructure like the ISS.

Started in garage 

Started in a garage in Bradley Stoke, Bristol, Space Forge now employs 15 people in a new satellite manufacturing facility in Cardiff. The company aims to deliver the next generation of products that are critical to modern clean society, through space manufacturing. 

Applications of Space Forge technology present commercial opportunities in medicine, technology and material science.

Harshbir Sangha, Growth Director, UK Space Agency says, “Like many UK space businesses, Space Forge is growing strongly – and this new investment will drive further growth by helping improve manufacturing processes in Space. It is another fantastic example of how government and private sector investment is supporting innovation in the commercial space sector, which now employs 45,000 people and generates £16.4bn for the UK economy.”

Dylan Taylor, CEO, and Chairman, Voyager Space Holdings. “Space manufacturing has been a focus of mine for many years. What Space Forge is doing to close the value loop for in-space manufacturing and products return is remarkable. This approach could be a game-changer for the industry.”

David Blake of the Development Bank of Wales, says, “Our equity finance is perfect for technology start-ups like Space Forge; providing seed investment to help drive growth and accelerate the development of critical technologies. Importantly, Space Forge is also creating highly skilled jobs. It is a great example of the innovative tech businesses that we are attracting to Wales with our funding and we are pleased to be supporting Josh and the team with a second round of investment alongside industry specialist co-investors.”

Type One Ventures’ Managing Partner, Tarek Waked, says, “Space Forge is years ahead of its competitors in terms of development and time to market. There also has been a long-standing vision in the space industry of utilizing the vastness of space for heavy industry that pollutes the earth. With Space Forge’s financing, we’re moving closer to that reality.”