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SpaceX launched the first factory in space

SpaceX launched the first factory in space

The creation of factories in space is not a whim of billionaires detached from reality, but projects that are gradually developed and bearing fruit. Like Jeff Bezos, president of Blue Origin, which aims to send polluting industries into space, space research firm Varda Space aims to be the first to build a factory in space through a partnership with SpaceX, which should be as early as 2023.

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

Farda’s interest is in using microgravity to create new materials or advance research into specific products on the International Space Station. According to TechCrunch, for example, we can make bioprinted devices or Semiconductors Even if nothing is announced at the moment because no contract has been signed with the client.

In order to make the flight, Varda Space must find partners to make the flight to low Earth orbit. This is the place SpaceX The latest offering comes in a show of companies looking to send things into space to take advantage of one of their scheduled flights to do so. In short, the two companies are on a journey through space together. When they reach their destination, they separate and each goes to work for himself. 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 Falcon 9, Properties SpaceXBefore the start of the year 2023 launchers From SpaceX, it will carry the supplies needed to set up the plant in space. If the companies don’t reveal any of the contract terms, 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 launch option has been explored using Electron missiles by Lab racket. But Varda Space did not want to put all its eggs in one basket, as the New Zealand company would provide the spacecraft to house supplies, as well as the capsule to return to Earth. A very important capsule since returningAtmosphere It is made at Mach 28 and the material should not break Drop.

In fact, the most complex moment from industrialization to recovery remains the moment of return. Mach 28 times the speed of sound (1,224 km/h). Think of science fiction movies where we see the capsule returning to Earth. Now imagine moving sensitive materials through this uncertain environment while absorbing many outside influences. This will undoubtedly be one of the pivotal moments of the mission.

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

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A date that remains elusive, allowing other projects to see the light of day. For example, we know that the European Union is working on this topic through the “Period” project, which aims to develop an orbital station. It will focus on assembling and manufacturing satellites directly from space in partnership with Airbus. Either way, these ambitious projects give us a glimpse into new horizons for industrialists and entrepreneurs from all fields.

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