Spaceports Launching Virgin Orbit satellite rockets from the UK

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The UK Space Agency has provided over £40 million in industry funding to grow the UK’s spaceflight capabilities and put in place the conditions to enable launch.

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UK Space Agency at Space-Comm Expo in Farborough, London

The UK is poised to become the first country in Europe to launch satellites into orbit this year from home soil, a key ambition of the UK Government’s National Space Strategy.

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Space Hub Sutherland is based on a 10-acre site in the middle of the Melness Crofters’ Estate on the very northernmost part of mainland Scotland, hopes to see first rockets fly in 2024. With up to 12 launches maximum per year will take place, including Orbex’s Prime launch vehicle – designed and manufactured at the company’s facility.

The Sutherland spaceport, also known as Space Hub Sutherland or UKVL Sutherland had its plans approved by the Scottish Land Court in September 2021.

Spaceport Cornwall will make history in 2022 by launching satellites to space from UK soil, all from a regional passenger airport!

Virgin Orbit will launch the ‘DOVER’ pathfinder satellite from Spaceport Cornwall. During the launch mission, a Virgin Orbit 747 jet will take off from the runway at Spaceport Cornwall, and will fly out over the ocean before blasting the rocket into space, delivering satellites into orbit around the Earth. In the cockpit will be Squadron Leader Mathew ‘Stanny’ Stannard, an RAF Test Pilot serving on industrial placement as one of Virgin Orbit’s pilots.

There are already over 55 space companies in Cornwall, Goonhilly, Avanti, Flann and Exobotics are using space to explore and grow their businesses. By launching them here, to grow the cluster, creating jobs, and decreasing the cost of accessing space.

Kernow Sat 1 mission satellite is being designed, built, launched and tracked all in Cornwall, and allowing the data from it processed by school children throughout the county. Coastal monitoring data will help identify wave height, areas of sea pollution, and the best place to plant a kelp forest for carbon sequestration.

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Vidhya Shridhar on getting to space cheaply and safely
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