Space firm Dark to link Bordeaux Airport directly to space
Bordeaux Airport and the Paris-based space company Dark (founded in 2021) have signed a partnership in preparation for the location of the firm’s activities to Mérignac. Both players have already received strong backing from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional authority.
The space protection and security company Dark is developing Interceptor, a system which enables access to any low orbit point in under 24 hours, to remove dangerous objects and prevent the spread of space debris. From its launch, the company attracted the attention of major investment funds such as Eurazeo, Frst and Kima Ventures (Xavier Niel), and has since signed numerous contracts, notably with Arianespace and the CNES [French National Centre for Space Studies].
In the first quarter of 2023, the company carried out technological validation tests (control systems, onboard computers, thrusters, etc.) in preparation for a demo mission in orbit. Between now and the end of the year, Dark is to launch a high-pressure cryogenic engine which was fully designed, manufactured and tested in France.
The aim of the relocation project representing some 500 jobs in R&D, production, maintenance and space operations, is to base most of the company’s activities at the Bordeaux Airport concession. The agreement will unite institutions and local authorities around a joint schedule. Dark hopes to begin recruiting in Bordeaux, via temporary facilities, by summer 2024.
This move is fully in line with Bordeaux Airport’s new strategy to act as an accelerator and integrator of innovative businesses serving the region. With its involvement in the implementation of the aeronautics and space value chain, the Airport is seeking to attract NewSpace companies, a fast-emerging sector offering numerous employment prospects in the region.
This agreement marks a milestone in the growth of committed partnerships working to protect global space infrastructures.