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  • Satellite Evolution

Space launch beckons for the UK as Spaceport Cornwall develops Centre for Space Technology

Set to deliver the first ever launch from UK soil this summer, Spaceport Cornwall is laying the foundations for long-term responsible small satellite services from Cornwall Airport Newquay with the build of the Centre for Space Technologies. Today Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy visited the site for a turf cutting as the centre nears completion.

This state of the art facility is a nationally unique asset where the value of launch from Cornwall will realise its full potential. The Centre comprises two main facilities: the Space Systems Integration Facility, where satellites will be integrated into the fairing of the rocket; and the Space Systems Operation Facility, an adjacent R&D work and office space.

The Centre for Space Technologies will be home to academic partners, SMEs, multinationals and environmental organisations who will come together and collaborate on responsible launch practices and applications - showcasing how space can help solve some of our greatest challenges on earth.

The facilities are key to Cornwall’s space cluster development and continued growth for cutting-edge practice within the region, and will serve as a catalyst to attract space businesses to work alongside academia in this unique capacity. Businesses from across the UK space sector and beyond, including satellite manufacturer D-Orbit, have already committed to using the centre as a base for innovation and advancement.

The centre will also be the on the ground base for Spaceport Cornwall’s mission to take a global lead in responsible launch and their ambition to achieve Net Zero. It will be home to Kernow Sat-1 - a G7 Legacy funded Community Satellite which will be launched to monitor ocean health around the coast of Cornwall - supporting Blue Carbon ambitions. Alongside this, further R&D will focus on Environmental Intelligence and Space.

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng: “From connecting people with their friends and family, to helping farmers to manage their crops, space is playing an increasingly pivotal role in our daily lives. Not only is this booming £16 billion sector a vital part of the UK economy, but it is also helping to protect British security interests abroad.

“The Centre for Space Technologies, backed by government funding, will be a hugely exciting asset to both Cornwall, and to the UK’s space sector as a whole. The facility will contribute to vital research and development in the field, bringing together industry and academia to exploit space to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

“The Government is delighted to be able to support this fantastic site, which will bring 150 jobs to the local area while boosting Cornwall’s burgeoning space cluster.”

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall: “Spaceport Cornwall is more than just a launch facility. The Centre for Space Technologies is proof of our ambitions to lead the way in a global industry shift. We want to show the key role environmental intelligence can play in solving global climate challenges and the centre will be home to vital R&D in this area - fostering collaboration across industry and academia to pioneer the use of space for good.”

Ian Annett, Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency: “It’s fantastic to see how our investments in UK launch are leading to the development of impressive facilities that will support spaceflight operations, research and collaboration, and create high-skilled jobs. As we countdown to the first launch this summer, we are working closely with Spaceport Cornwall, Virgin Orbit and partners across the country to grow a sustainable new spaceflight industry in the UK.”

Linda Taylor, Conservative Group Leader, Cornwall Council: “The Centre for Space Technologies is a hugely important asset for Cornwall, a representation of our leading position in the UK’s Space Industry. We are looking forward to welcoming innovative businesses to the region and building collaborative long-term activity around Spaceport Cornwall that will contribute to the growth of Cornwall’s economy.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership: "The Business Secretary's visit was an opportunity to showcase how we are using Government investment to drive new industries in Cornwall, not just the space economy but also our emerging tech metals mining sector which is going to be vital to the energy transition. The LEP has been a long-term supporter of Spaceport Cornwall in realising Cornwall and the UK's space ambitions, and we were delighted to share progress with the Secretary of State."

The £5.6 million innovative space has been jointly-funded by Cornwall Council, the European Regional Development Fund and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, through the Government’s ‘Getting Building’ Fund. Accelerating UK Space and growing Cornwall’s economy Spaceport Cornwall, with the Centre for Space Technologies, will deliver 150 direct jobs and £200 million GVA.

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