Space Forge partners with Lumi Space to track satellite on Virgin Orbit UK mission

A Lumi engineering model integrating into ForgeStar-0. Photo: Star Forge

UK space start-up Space Forge partners with a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) society Lumi Space on the next pristine orbit launching from the UK later this year.

Space Forge, based in Cardiff, Wales, is working to build a returnable, reusable satellite platform. This mission will launch Space Forge’s ForgeStar-0 platform to test its future return of space technology. Lumi Space is developing a satellite-based laser ranging (SLR) service, which will track ForgeStar-0 as it descends.

“To ensure that our ForgeStar platform can be accurately returned to Earth and enable on-demand microgravity access, we need innovative technologies like the ones Lumi is developing. Tracking a tiny satellite moving nearly 8 km per second will be an impressive feat and we look forward to using the data to improve our understanding of how we fly through the upper atmosphere,” said Andrew Bacon, CTO and co-founder of Space Forge.

Lumi Space wants to reduce the rate of false positive satellite collision warnings to less than 5%. The company says its satellite telemetry service is 1,000 times more accurate at tracking satellites than methods currently in use.

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart recently said the launcher is considering a September calendar for its first mission from the UK from Spaceport Cornwall. Hart said the UK government had shown “huge interest” in the launch, and Virgin Orbit is working closely with the Royal Air Force and Spaceport Cornwall.

“Cornwall’s work is progressing quite well. This is the first time space launch has been cleared in the UK and CAA [Civilian Aviation Authority] — their regulatory agency — has been very engaged with our experts to make sure they understand the system. This type of dialogue has really helped to clarify their questions and ensure that the regulatory process moves forward. »

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