Spaceport to accelerate launch hub plans during world’s largest airshow
Representatives from Prestwick Spaceport are set to meet with stakeholders from across the global space industry, commerce, academia and government at next week’s Farnborough International Airshow, to accelerate plans to become Europe’s premier space launch location. Prestwick Spaceport will have a major presence alongside partners with Space Scotland as part of a dedicated Space Zone at the world’s biggest airshow at Farnborough 18-22 July.
The spaceport, which this week welcomed senior representatives from Houston Spaceport and Rice University in the United States, has secured more funding than any other UK spaceport development with a long-established aerospace cluster at the forefront of technology and innovation, featuring companies such as BAE Systems, Collins Aerospace, GE Caledonian and Spirit AeroSystems. The project is currently focused on leveraging its transport links and proximity to key satellite manufacturers in Glasgow in order to create more than 4,000 new jobs in Ayrshire.
In September 2021 Prestwick Spaceport signed a landmark MOU deal to accelerate Scotland’s space industry ambitions in partnership with Astraius, the leading UK based, commercially operated horizontal ‘air launch’ company. Prestwick and Astraius are both attending Farnborough International Airshow and are expected to further develop plans in response to the growing demand for satellite launch services for the UK and around the globe.
Prestwick Spaceport’s upcoming milestones include finalising plans for its second public consultation, working with UK regulators on its launch licence application, attracting inward investment, developing supply chain opportunities and delivering local educational outreach initiatives.
A key ambition for Prestwick Spaceport is to promote the importance of inspiring the next generation and recently outlined its plans to encourage young people to consider a career in Scotland’s end-to-end space sector, which already employs more people per capita than anywhere else in the UK, through the creation of an outreach campaign entitled A New Hope. The plans include the making of a short film to be made available to schools in collaboration with Skypath – a careers initiative from South Ayrshire Council’s Economy and Regeneration service – and the University of the West of Scotland. The film will feature ‘local heroes’ from a diverse range of backgrounds who have gone on to work for NASA, Formula 1 and other exciting jobs and is set to be released during this year’s World Space Week in October.
Through the Ayrshire Growth Deal, £80 million is being invested at Prestwick, securing its status and future as a global aerospace and space hub.
Matthew Archer, Director of Commercial Spaceflight for the UK Space Agency said, “Glasgow produces more satellites than anywhere else in the UK and Prestwick Spaceport is at the centre of a growing aerospace cluster which has the potential to support thousands of high-quality jobs.
“To keep growing the UK space sector, we need to catalyse investment and inspire the next generation to reach for the stars, and it’s great to see the progress being made by the team at Prestwick in these areas. I look forward to seeing them at Farnborough and continuing our work together.”
The Farnborough International Airshow will return after a break due to the coronavirus pandemic and welcome more than 80,000 visitors from over 100 countries. The event has been a major trade exhibition for the aerospace sector since 1948, with a vast array of high-tech aircraft demonstrating their flight capabilities to potential customers and investors, alongside businesses showcasing their role in the aerospace supply chain. A dedicated Space Zone will feature at the event, hosting exhibition booths from key space players and highlighting the UK’s rapidly expanding space sector to an international business and public audience.
Programme Director for Prestwick Spaceport Mick O’Connor stated, “Farnborough is always the highlight of the aerospace events calendar and it’s fantastic that Prestwick’s developing space hub is being well represented at the airshow. We’re looking forward to updating key international partners on our latest developments and establishing new valuable connections to help us drive forward our exciting development at pace.
“We have a huge opportunity at Prestwick to help secure the UK’s position as Europe’s leading launch location. The cluster has so many positive elements in place, from supportive local residents and passionate corporate partners to a major aerospace hub on our doorstep. Farnborough’s SpaceZone is exactly where Prestwick belongs.”