UK increases investment in Magna Parva in-space manufacturing tech
by Staff Writers
Leicester UK (SPX) Sep 22, 2016
Magna Parva wins major follow-on contract to build engineering qualification model that will manufacture structures of indefinite size in space
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), through its Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) trading fund, has awarded a significant phase 2 contract to UK-based space engineering specialist, Magna Parva. Magna Parva will develop an engineering qualification model of a system to manufacture large structures in space.
The new contract is part of the MoD's 'Affordable and Revolutionary Space' project from the Space S adn T programme to investigate and develop novel satellite technologies. The in-space manufacturing system has already been proven at a prototype level in phase 1 activities by providing a method for producing indefinite carbon composite 3D structures in space.
Current pre-manufactured structures (antennae, solar arrays, deployment booms) designed to go into space are high in mass and volume, and have specific launch environment requirements. By manufacturing in space, many of these requirements are eliminated, offering an order of magnitude capability increase over current state of the art systems. Based on a deployed length to packed volume ratio of greater than 1000:1, the Magna Parva market disruptive technology can offer a new and unexplored utility from even small satellites.
The UK Space Agency provided funding for phase 1 of the project as a good example of cross-government co-ordination with DSTL. During Phase 2 of the project, Magna Parva will redesign the system from its prototype stage to be representative of a system suitable for launch and space operations. The company will miniaturise the machine and test the process for operation in space including vacuum, radiation, thermal and vibration environments to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6.
Nick Cox, Head of Space Technology UK Space Agency said: "The UK Space Agency has been very supportive of this exciting technology for several years, through our NSTP funding and European Space Agency funding streams. I am pleased to see MoD DSTL progressing funding even further with this contract award."
Andy Bowyer, Director of Magna Parva added: "We're delighted to win the contract to deliver the latest phase of the In-Space Manufacturing technology getting us tangibly close to flight readiness.
"We are concurrently developing new applications for the technology which include larger spaced sensors for increased sensitivity and enhanced directivity, alternatives to formation flying for small satellites, enabling more precise earth observation operations, and enhancing satellite communications systems via small satellites," continued Andy Bowyer.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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