- Laurence Russell
Space community gathers to celebrate at Spaceport Cornwall launch event
Updated: Nov 24, 2022
Members of the space community have gathered in Cornwall to celebrate the upcoming launch from Spaceport Cornwall, the first from British soil.
Science Minister George Freeman, Transport Technology Minister Jesse Norman, members of the UK Space Agency, and businesses from the Cornwall Space Cluster were invited to see Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, and its carrier aircraft, ahead of a planned launch before the end of the year.
After seeing Cosmic Girl, members of the Cornwall Space Cluster came together from Spaceport Cornwall, Exobotics, and a plethora of other space organisations, in anticipation of a historic moment in the UK space industry. The cluster is home to over 50 space-related businesses driving space innovation in the UK.
Nadeem Gabbani, Founder of Exobotics, a member of the Cornwall Space Cluster, commented: “It is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the Cornwall Space Cluster as we count down the days to Spaceport Cornwall’s historic launch. The UK space industry is poised for huge growth and it’s great to see the efforts of the team in Cornwall leading the way. The upcoming launch serves as an inspiration to space start-ups and small businesses to innovate and contribute to space activity thanks to the support and opportunities provided by the cluster.”
The Cornwall space sector has seen 164 per cent growth since 2010 and will add a projected £1 billion in economic value by 2030 through data and space developments.
Growth of the Cornwall space industry is typified by the imminent launch from Spaceport Cornwall, which directly employs 150 staff, with a further 240 staff working across the supply chain, and many more highly skilled job opportunities being created throughout the region.
Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall, said: “It’s been phenomenal to welcome so many supporters of the UK space sector here to Spaceport Cornwall ahead of our first launch. My team and I loved showing the world how much work and how much international collaboration is going into making this world-first a reality. This marks just the beginning of a global movement with Space For Good at its core.”
Gail Eastaugh, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Cornwall Space Cluster, said: “Virgin Orbit, Spaceport Cornwall and the UK Space Agency are excited to partner on the first-ever launch from the UK. This historic feat marks a giant leap forward for the UK space industry and will enable space companies and entities in the region to open space for good by having access to space on their schedule and to the desired orbit. This in turn fosters a sustainable space ecosystem that will spur further technological innovation and benefit mission applications including for environmental monitoring, earth observation, space exploration and national security purposes. The Cornwall Space Cluster is attracting inward investment from all over the world and underpins growth in related sectors such as mining, clean energy, agriculture and tourism which are important to the local economy.”
Cornwall has created a thriving space ecosystem through leading education institutions, such as Falmouth University and the University of Exeter, promoting STEM careers across the region, and funding support for small businesses through regular grants and R&D advice.