In Space Manufacturing Capabilities and Applications Discussed at 35th Space Symposium / by Austin Jordan

Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush discusses on orbit manufacturing at the 35th Space Symposium

Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush discusses on orbit manufacturing at the 35th Space Symposium

  • Made In Space announced manufacturing system for smallsat interferometry during the 35th Space Symposium

  • Space Generation Advisory Council’s Fusion Forum brought together industry thought leaders and rising stars to discuss challenges and opportunities

  • Space Symposium featured panel highlights, current capabilities, and near-term applications for in-space manufacturing

The 35th Space Symposium, which took place April 8-11 in Colorado Springs, CO, brought together companies, government agencies, and thought leaders from space sectors around the world. Space Symposium provides a forum to network, address challenges and needs, and discuss current capabilities and planned missions .

 Amidst a busy week of space news and announcements, Made In Space (MIS) unveiled its in-space manufacturing system for precision long-baseline interferometry, Optimast-SCI. This system, equipped on an ESPA-class satellite, deploys a 20-meter optical boom using extended structure manufacturing technology. Optimast-SCI can be used for high resolution, space-based missions in astrophysics, planetary science, Earth remote sensing, and space situational awareness.

Prior to the start of the Symposium, MIS participated in the Space Generation Fusion Forum. As a proud sponsor, MIS was able to connect with rising young stars in the industry and engage in meaningful dialogue about current challenges and opportunities. Made In Space Vice President of Advanced Programs and Concepts Justin Kugler led a breakout session during the Fusion Forum, where he highlighted the needs, risks, and factors associated with growing a sustainable economy in low Earth orbit. During his session, he discussed space policy, roadblocks, and innovative technology that could shape the future of space commercialization.

This year, the Space Symposium featured an in-depth session focused on in-space manufacturing, which took place on the main stage. Made In Space President and CEO Andrew Rush joined industry leaders from Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Lunar Resources, and SSL to discuss new capabilities coming to the market; applications that would address commercial and national security needs; challenges; and roadblocks. The group unanimously noted that in-space manufacturing and assembly will be a multi-billion dollar industry and far more disruptive than the boom of smallsats.

Made In Space is working to deliver the first integrated in-space manufacturing and assembly technology suite to the market. These new capabilities represent a paradigm shift and will change how the industry approaches mission design, satellite development, and more. Perhaps, one of the greatest impacts of on orbit manufacturing and assembly is that it lowers the barriers to entry for a range of new users because these capabilities can be integrated into more affordable launch systems due to reduced upmass, while still delivering exceptional function and utility in orbit.

“The benefits are truly transformational,” said Andrew Rush, “it is about spending fewer dollars per unit per capability rather than dollars per kilogram.”

During the panel, Rush provided a practical example of how transformational in-space manufacturing and assembly will be. He noted that Made In Space’s next-generation technology, Archinaut, can deliver the same power required by powerful multi-kilowatt satellites that are currently launched on very large launch vehicles, which may cost around $100 million. Conversely, Archinaut is designed to launch on smaller ESPA-class satellites, which significantly reduces costs by several orders of magnitude because it can be launched on a $5-$10 million rocket. Rush emphasized that Made In Space plans to see definitive demonstrations of on-orbit manufacturing and assembly in the next 3-5 years.

 To learn more about our in-space manufacturing program or for additional details on our announcement during Space Symposium, check out our company blog.

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