Lexington, Kentucky-based Space Tango has unveiled ST-42, an autonomous robotic orbital platform designed for scalable manufacturing in space. Launching in the mid-2020s, ST-42 aims to harness the unique environment of microgravity to produce high-value products across industries; from patient therapeutics to advanced technology products. ST-42 is an extension of the International Space Station's (ISS) capabilities, and NASA's creation of a robust commercial marketplace in low Earth orbit (LEO).
Coupling autonomous manufacturing capabilities with reduced cost and adaptability for various launch vehicle providers, ST-42 intends to be at the forefront of developing new biomedical and technology sectors in the commercial space economy.
While early modules will focus on technology applications and materials production, ST-42's initial design will incorporate features that address current good manufacturing practice (CGMP). These regulations are enforced by the FDA and are a critical component in the production of patient therapeutics that Space Tango intends to establish as a capability on orbit within the platform.
President and CEO of Space Tango Twyman Clements says, "This platform will create a new category of capabilities for LEO commercialization in the space economy. Our experienced team has crafted not only a vision for the future of manufacturing in space but procedures, partnerships, and tangible plans for executing ST-42."
Estimates from Morgan Stanley predict that the revenue generated by the global space industry, which today consists mainly of satellites that leverage only one aspect of LEO, will increase to $1.1 trillion or more by 2040, up from $350 billion in 2016. This illustrates the enormous potential of the expanding Space Economy and the opportunity for the creation of new markets that will drive further commercial applications that will benefit Earth.
Space Tango is focused on creating a new global market 250 miles up in low Earth orbit and envisions a future where the next important breakthroughs in both healthcare and technology will occur off the planet. Recognized for their expertise in microgravity design and operations, Space Tango believes that by exploring with industry and educational partners of all kinds, we can improve life on Earth and inspire the next generation to continue to expand the horizon of this new frontier.