TAMPA, Fla. — U.S.-based Slingshot Aerospace is opening offices in the United Kingdom to expand its space traffic coordination and analysis business globally.

Melissa Quinn, previously head of the company’s Seradata space data analysis team, will lead the new international business division out of the Space Systems Operations Facility at Spaceport Cornwall, in southwest England.

Quinn joined Slingshot in June after two and a half years as head of Spaceport Cornwall, a space business cluster that also provided the runway for Virgin Orbit’s failed launch from the U.K. in January 2023.

Slingshot is preparing to start operating from Spaceport Cornwall in the coming months, Quinn told SpaceNews, and plans to double a team of 10 people in the U.K. this year in a push for more government and commercial customers.

The existing U.K.-based employees include Seradata’s remote-working team that Slingshot acquired in August 2022.

Slingshot employs around 150 people in the United States, where the company provides a broader range of services, such as a space traffic control software tool satellite operators use to coordinate orbital maneuvers to avert collisions.  

The seven-year-old company also acquired the space division of Colorado-based Numerica in 2022, which operates a global network of ground-based telescopes to track space objects.

Quinn said Slingshot aims to open up an office in London this summer as part of plans to deploy its Space Domain Awareness offerings directly out of the U.K., from the company’s global sensor network through to modeling and simulating of the space environment. 

“We are expanding into full operations from the UK,” she said via email, “the focus is on initially recruiting software engineers and data analysts to build out the data, analytics, services, and go to market business supporting all international business outside of the US.”

UK foothold

Andrew Griffith, the U.K.’s space minister, said Slingshot’s British business unit will enhance the country’s space sustainability offering at a time when the government is seeking a greater share of the global space industry.

“This expansion will provide international space operators with solutions to accelerate space safety, sustainability, and security, ensuring the preservation of space for current and future generations,” Griffith said in a statement.

Beyond Seradata’s space data analysis users, Slingshot customers in the U.K include OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) broadband operator that Eutelsat of France recently acquired.

According to Quinn, more than 90% of all commercial LEO spacecraft are currently leveraging the company’s Slingshot Beacon platform for space traffic coordination, sharing their satellite data to support safe spaceflight.

She said Slingshot’s global sensor network also delivers millions of observations per year to the U.S. Space Command’s Joint Commercial Operations Cell (JCO), which includes a U.K.-based unit, to support space security for the U.S., U.K., and their allies.

Last year, Slingshot also provided tracking data to help safely maneuver the Inmarsat I-6 F1 satellite to an orbital slot in a congested area of geostationary orbit for Inmarsat, the British operator Viasat of the U.S. recently acquired.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...