Varda Space will open SpaceX’s Space Carpooling service in 2023.
However, the idea first came out of the mouth of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and Elon Musk’s biggest competitor. But as if history was repeating itself, it was the South African businessman who doubled the line for his fellow American again.
The original idea was to send the most polluting industries into space, voluntarily or forcibly. One way to get rid of this planetary burden is to combat global warming. By polluting space like never before, Bezos’ critics will say.
But still, if Blue Origin boss’ idea doesn’t seem to have a follow-up yet, Varda Space, Inc. has developed the project, and this week is introducing a new kind of partnership with SpaceX, which plans to send a plant into space. The first blocks of this future plant should reach place during 2023 according to the initial schedule, submitted jointly by the two companies.
A task that takes a few months
According to Varda, the interest of such a plant lies in the use of microgravity. In the absence of gravity, it would be possible to manufacture new materials or develop research by the International Space Station on certain specific products.
According to early rumors, Varda hopes to be able to design living organisms in space as well as semiconductors, a piece that has become quite rare in recent months. But while the project was revealed a few days ago, no contract with potential clients has yet been signed.
The mission must last for 3 months before returning to Earth. Varda Space hopes that this mission can be repeated in the future. The company aspires to send two more factories into space in 2024.
A new kind of orbit
Before you build this factory in space, you have to actually go there. To get there, Varda Space needs technology from SpaceX, today the most reliable launch company capable of sending very heavy payloads into orbit.
In addition, Elon Musk offers an interesting offer to its customers. Instead of having them pay for the entire trip at their own expense, SpaceX suggests creating a “space car” system.
In other words, SpaceX adds a Varda Space payload to one of its already scheduled flights (for a Starlink or Dragon mission) and then sends that small world into orbit. Once the spatial encounter is reached, the two payloads separate, and each goes to its own orbit.
Landing: Mission Hotspot
Once the parts are designed in space by the Varda Space plant, they will be stored in a small capsule, which will return to Earth thanks to Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. The New Zealand company, which has been racing to take off and land, will eventually focus on the latter part of the mission.
This should be the defining moment for Varda Space. In fact, returning to the ground is always complicated, but the designed parts are very fragile, and this adds risk to the experience. Return to Earth should be Mach 28 (34574.4 km/h), so the braking would have to be strong enough so Farda’s space teams would only collect ash when the capsule returned to Earth.