De la science-fiction à l'élaboration du projet, une usine dans l'espace se profile à l'horizon 2023. © 3000ad, Adobe Stock

SpaceX to move parts of the first factory into space as early as 2023

The creation of factories in space is not a whim of billionaires detached from reality, but rather projects that are being developed and gradually bear fruit. Like Jeff Bezos, president of Blue Origin, who wants to send polluting industries into space, space research company Varda Space wants to become the first to build a factory in space by collaborating with SpaceX. This first “vehicle spatial transfer” should occur at the beginning of 2023.

An industrial plant in space? The Varda Space project may seem far-fetched – there is no shortage of space on Earth to design factories – but it can lead to the development of industries on the ground.

Varda’s interest will be to use microgravity to manufacture new materials or develop research for International Space Station on certain products. According to TechCrunch, we can for example manufacture bioprinted or semiconductor organs even if nothing is disclosed at the moment because no contract has been signed with the customer.

In order to be able to make the trip, Varda Space needs to find partners to make the trip toorbiting low floor. This is the place SpaceX The role of the last show comes to companies that want to send things into space to take advantage of one of their planned flights to do so. Basically, the two companies are taking a trip into space together. When they reach their destination, they separate and each get busy on their own. In short, a kind of “spatial car sharing”. A little different from your Sunday trip between Angers and Paris…

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Varda Space has announced that it wants to move its factory to a Falcon 9, Properties SpaceXAt the beginning of 2023. SpaceX’s launch pads will transport the supplies needed to build the station into space. If the companies don’t reveal any of the contract clauses, we know the machine will spend about three months in orbit testing these new manufacturing technologies.

Landing, the most important moment in the mission

However, another firing option has been studied using Electron missiles from rocket lab. But Varda Space did not want to put all its eggs in one basket, as the New Zealand company would take care of the spacecraft to accommodate the supplies as well as the capsule to return to Earth. A very important capsule since the returnAtmosphere It is done at Mach 28 and the material must not break drop.

In fact, the most complex moment from industrialization to recovery remains the moment of re-entry into the atmosphere. Mach 28 is twice the speed of sound (1.224 km/h). Remember the science fiction movies in which we see the capsule returning to Earth. Now imagine that you are transporting sensitive materials through this uncertain environment while taking on many outside influences. This will undoubtedly be one of the crucial moments of the mission.

Unlike other spacecraft specializing in communications or imaging, Varda Space and its Space Factory It does not require a specific mission orbit. It is enough to be able to stay in it low earth orbit. Lessons learned during this first trip may allow others to implement them. Varda Space hopes to be able to launch a second or even a third by the end of 2024.

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A date that remains elusive leaving the opportunity for other projects to see the light of day. We know, for example, that the European Union is working on this topic with the “Period” project, which wants to develop an orbital plant. It will focus on assembling and manufacturing satellites directly from space in partnership with Airbus. Anyway, these ambitious projects give us a glimpse into new perspectives for manufacturers and entrepreneurs from all fields.

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