Space Forge teams with Northrop Grumman for space materials

Space Forge teams with Northrop Grumman for space materials

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

UK startup Space Forge has signed a strategic deal with prime contractor Northrop Grumman in the US to use the compound semiconductor substrates it plans to make in low earth orbit.

The deal will see Northrop Grumman characterise the materials made in orbit by Space Forge in multiple missions and use the substrates in its foundry business for electronic systems. It will also provide business and technical advice, microelectronics training workshops, collaborative design review and material testing and characterization. 

The second generation chemical vapour deposition (CVD) system Space Forge is developing can produce substrates for hundreds of thousands of devices, says Josh Western, CEO and co-founder of the Cardiff-based company.

“Our compound semiconductor substrates made in orbit have 10 to 100 times the performance in the thermal properties and that reduces the power consumption by as much as 60%,” said Western.

Space Forge plans to ship its first generation systems by the end of the year for launch, with substrates delivered to Grumman in 24 months. It attempted to launch its first system on the Virgin Orbit launcher from Cornwall that failed to reach orbit.

“Northup Grumman brings decades of developing space capabilities and microelectronics with a trusted foundry and semiconductor in space manufacturing,” said Troy Brashear, VP of National Security Systems at Northrop Grumman Space announcing the deal.

“This collaboration brings together the expertise and innovation of both the UK and US space industries, and we believe it will be a game-changer in unlocking the tremendous potential of space-based manufacturing,” said Western.

“By developing advanced semiconductor materials in the unique environment of space, we aim to revolutionize the global semiconductor market and support its rapid growth, ultimately driving new advancements in technology and the economy.”

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