The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC), located at Silverstone Park, and the Satellite Applications Catapult have announced a new collaboration that they say marks an important development in establishing a national space supply chain for advanced manufacturing.
As part of the partnership, the DMC could soon be designing parts for additive manufacturing in space – a sector that the UK government aims to capture 10% of by 2030.
DMC CEO Kieron Salter said: “The UK space sector is expected to undergo significant growth over the next decade. Integral to these ambitions is a highly-capable supply chain that understands the unique challenges of the industry – particularly when it comes to commercial applications – and is able to service those requirements.
“Additive manufacturing and the skilled engineering to exploit its limitless production capabilities will play an important role in the future of the space sector.
“Whether we are making parts on earth or creating designs to be printed in orbit, this new partnership signals the Digital Manufacturing Centre’s intention to be a production leader within the commercial UK space sector.
“In addition to supporting manufacturing for the space industry on earth, our joint ambition is to have a DMC-led additive manufacturing capability in space – either in orbit, on the moon or another planet entirely.”
The Digital Manufacturing Centre is a state-of-the-art, sector-agnostic digital manufacturing production and engineering facility, located in 20,000 sq ft industrial premises at Silverstone Park.
The Catapult is a technology and innovation company that supports early-stage businesses with technical and commercial advice, and access to unique facilities and equipment. It brings together multi-disciplinary teams to solve some of the space industry’s greatest challenges, such as manufacturing in space.
The DMC-Catapult partnership will work with organisations developing orbital capabilities and address one of the key challenges for ‘In-Orbit Servicing & Manufacturing’ (assembly without conventional fasteners).
Mike Curtis-Rouse, the Satellite Applications Catapult’s head of Access to Space, added: “Our mission is to help grow the UK space industry on the world stage. Within the UK, we have the engineering skills and manufacturing capability to become an international leader in space technology and applications.
“Working closely with the Digital Manufacturing Centre provides us with ready access to highly sought-after skills, expertise, experience and technologies.
“This new partnership is a statement of intent and a promising signal for the future of the UK space industry and its emerging supply chain.
“It follows closely from the announcement of our partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre earlier this year and will further strengthen the development of the next generation of technology for the space sector.”