Varda Space Industries aims to build the world’s first factory in space to manufacture a wide variety of products in microgravity environment. The company was founded around year ago in November by former SpaceX engineer Will Bruey and a duo associated with Peter Thiel Founders Fund, Delian Spirou and Daniel Marshall. They envision a future where products and can be made in space factories.
Manufacturing in zero gravity can improve the quality of a wide-range of products. For example, manufacturing computer chips in microgravity can be beneficial because there is no dust particles in space. “[…] From powerful fiber optic cables to new, life-saving pharmaceuticals, there is a world of products used on Earth today that can only be manufactured in space. Varda is accelerating innovation in the space industry and creating products that will benefit life on Earth. Our mission is to expand the economic bounds of humankind,” the company’s website states.
SpaceNews reports that Varda Space Industries purchased a flight atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to launch its first module to test the concept of building a production factory in space and bringing the products to Earth. Varda told reporters that it selected SpaceX because it offers a more affordable launch. The module spacecraft will launch as part of a SpaceX Rideshare mission, which provides cheaper flights to orbit by sharing a rocket with dozens of payloads owned by different companies.
The spacecraft that Falcon 9 will deploy is designed to manufacture an undisclosed product/material. All that is known is that it is a three-piece vehicle manufactured by Rocket Lab, consisting of a spacecraft platform, the manufacturing module, and a heatshield-protected capsule designed to bring the products to Earth by reentering the atmosphere and landing under a parachute. The first mission will demonstrate concept of operations and test Varda's technologies ability to manufacture products in zero-gravity.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX