UK Space Agency
The U.K. Space Agency will provide $9.5 million for infrastructure at a British airport that seeks to host Virgin Orbit’s air-launch system.
The U.K. Space Agency and a local government announced plans June 4 to invest in facilities at a British airport to support launch operations by Virgin Orbit.
The multiyear investment begins with 18-month contract worth few million pounds.
U.K. military official: “Here we have a sector in which we excel, which is daily growing more central to everyone’s lives, but is vulnerable to attack."
The British government announced Aug. 29 that it will spend more than $100 million to study whether the country should develop its own satellite navigation system as an alternative to Europe’s Galileo.
Virgin Orbit says an agreement that could lead to LauncherOne missions from an English airport is part of an effort to both better meet the needs of its customers as well as support the U.K. space industry.
The British government announced July 16 that it will provide funding to two companies, including an American aerospace giant, who plan to use a newly announced launch site in Scotland.
U.K. Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hillier says the cost-effective technology with its short development cycles would enable the military to always take advantage of the latest technological developments, unlike the traditional slow-paced military satellite projects.
A 99 million pound ($132 million) satellite test facility to be built at the U.K.’s Harwell Campus should bring more business to the space hub here and ensure Britain’s satellite manufacturers can carry on without disruption post-Brexit, according to Chris Mutlow, director of RAL Space, the space division of the U.K. state-run Rutherford Appleton Laboratory here.
A new national industrial strategy unveiled by the British government Nov. 27 includes 50 million pounds ($67 million) to support development of new launch sites and launch vehicles.
The consortium has met with local officials and submitted a proposal to the U.K. Space Agency, with a goal of having the facility operational by 2020.
The UK Space Agency said the grants are worth up to £10 million ($12.5 million) but launches must begin by 2020.
The British government has awarded feasibility-study contracts to five industrial teams that want to operate orbital or suborbital launch vehicles from British territory on a commercial basis.
The British government’s spectacular increase in space investment since 2012 is showing signs of losing steam as a new set of government leaders rethinks the sector’s potential in driving economic growth, British industry officials said.