UK and US to Launch Joint Mission Aboard United Kingdom’s First Orbital Launch Supported by Virgin Orbit

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Satellite launch company Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) announces today that a joint mission between the United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is expected to be lofted on the first space launch out of Spaceport Cornwall later this year.

The government agencies’ joint Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) is supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Test Program (STP), which is organized under the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC). CIRCE will utilize two 6U CubeSats flying in tandem formation to measure the ionosphere and radiation environment from multiple vantage points. The mission will support the two countries’ joint development of a wide range of civil and defense applications, including GPS, radar, communication systems, and sensing technology.

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Virgin Orbit Plans First UK Launch for Late August

LauncherOne ignites on its way to space. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LONG BEACH, Calif. — With three successful launches under its belt, Virgin Orbit is planning two flights this summer to demonstrate its agile air-launched booster system, including the first-ever satellite launch from the United Kingdom, a company executive said this week.

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Benchmark Space Systems Kicks Off European Expansion with Major Propulsion Contract Supporting Space Forge’s Sustainable In-Space Manufacturing Mission

Secures manufacturing, testing facilities with Satellite Applications Catapult at Westcott Venture Park

Burlington, Vermont/Aylesbury, England, May 24, 2022 (Benchmark Space Systems PR) – With a new major propulsion contract signed to support Space Forge’s in-space manufacturing mission, Benchmark Space Systems today announced it has opened a manufacturing and testing facility Northwest of London to build a regional team and its Starling and Halcyon propulsion systems to help empower the flourishing European space sector.

The agreement brings together two of the fastest growing space tech startups in the UK and US that share an energy and passion for pushing innovation to further drive the accessibility and sustainability of space.

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The Satellite Applications Catapult, Horizon Technologies, and Virgin Orbit Accelerate the UK Small Satellite Market with a New Launch Agreement for Cornwall 2022

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

DIDCOT, UK (Satellite Applications Catapult PR) The Satellite Applications Catapult (“the Catapult”) and Virgin Orbit (“Virgin Orbit”, Nasdaq: VORB), a leading launch provider, have announced an agreement to launch the latest satellite in the Catapult’s In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) programme into space from the United Kingdom later this year.

The satellite, called Amber-1, is a partnership between the Catapult and Horizon Technologies. Built by AAC Clyde Space in Scotland, it will be launched by Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne on its historic flight from Spaceport Cornwall this year – a mission that is expected to mark the first ever orbital launch from a United Kingdom spaceport.

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Search is on for Young Space Entrepreneurs Ahead of First UK Rocket Launches

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Young people have the chance to a share of £50,000 and expert advice for their ideas on how satellites could improve life on Earth, in a competition run by the UK Space Agency.

With Britain’s first satellite launches set to take place this year, the SatelLife Competition is looking for the best new ideas for how to use data collected from space to benefit daily life, from supporting local communities and the NHS, to monitoring the environment and tackling climate change.

The competition is now in its fifth year, with previous winning ideas including drones carrying medical supplies, a pin badge to monitor air pollution and an app to track abandoned shopping trolleys.

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UK Space Innovation Gets Significant Boost at Westcott Venture Park

Westcott Venture Park (Credit: Satellite Applications Catapult)

WESTCOTT, UK (Satellite Applications Catapult PR) — The Satellite Applications Catapult is pleased to announce its expansion at Westcott Venture Park due to a £5.7m investment in new facilities. ‘Building 4000’ is set to house an In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing facility alongside the expansion of the Healthy and Agri Living Labs. These exciting initiatives will help the UK secure a 10% share of the global space market.

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Surrey Satellite to Lead UK Space Agency Project to Study Active De-orbit of Space Debris

Novel technology will be required for these ambitious steps, which are proposed as part of the new ‘Protect’ Accelerator, one of three currently being defined to help shape Europe’s future in space. (Credit: ESA)

The LEOPARD (Low Earth Orbit Pursuit for Active Debris Removal) study will define concepts for de-orbiting 2 uncooperative UK space assets from low earth orbit

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected to lead a UK Space Agency study to define the mission requirements for a complex mission to de-orbit two non-operational space debris targets. SSTL is a world-leader in the manufacture and in-orbit operation of small satellites, and has valuable experience in two previous Active Debris Removal (ADR) demonstration missions; RemoveDEBRIS, which concluded a series of debris retrieval demonstrations in January 2019, and Astroscale’s 2021 ELSA-d mission for which SSTL supplied the Client “target” satellite.

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AAC Clyde Space Advances xSPANCION Project

UPPSALA, Sweden, November 9, 2011 (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space and its partners, have successfully completed the first phase of the xSPANCION project with a successful Preliminary Design Review, conducted jointly with the European Space Agency (ESA). Together with the partners, the company has agreed to accelerate the project by kicking off the Spacecraft Manufacturing Preparation Phase. To achieve this, a Phase 2 has been introduced to the project valued at 5.6 MEUR (approx. 57.3 MSEK), of which the UK Space Agency, through the ESA’s Pioneer Partnership Projects, will contribute 2.8 MEUR (approx. 28.7 MSEK).

The 3-year project, previously announced 18th November 2020 by AAC Clyde Space aims to develop an innovative satellite constellation service. The total 19.7 M€ (approx. 201.7 MSEK) project is co-funded by the UK Space Agency, through ESA’s Pioneer Partnership Projects, with 9.9 M€ (approx. 100.9 MSEK).

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UK Working with Global Partners to Clear up Dangerous Space Debris

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is today announcing a range of different initiatives aimed at supporting safe and sustainable space operations.

From developing our space tracking capabilities and promoting international efforts in space sustainability, to finding novel ways of removing space debris – the UK is leading the way to ensure the Earth’s orbit can continue to be used now and in the future.

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D-Orbit Signs Contract with ESA Under the Boost! Commercial Space Transportation Services

The UK branch of the orbital transportation company will focus on logistics coordination and process standardisation between different European spaceports and launcher providers

CORNWALL, UK, July 20th, 2021 (D-Orbit PR) — The UK branch of D-Orbit, a leader in the orbital transportation industry, has announced the signing of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) under the Boost! Project with ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support Programme.

The Responsive Microlauncher Service, which provides end-to-end delivery of payloads in orbit, is designed to utilise the upcoming small launchers that are due to be launching regularly from UK starting from 2022. The contract will focus on logistics coordination and process standardisation between different European spaceports and launcher providers.

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Reaction Engines Secures New UK Government Funding for Space Access Programme

Science Minister Amanda Solloway at Reaction Engines. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — New government funding will help leading UK space technology company Reaction Engines bring low-carbon space propulsion one step closer.

The £3.9 million [US $5.4 million] grant from the UK Space Agency will support the development of Reaction Engines’ ground-breaking SABRE technology, enabling low-carbon air-breathing space access propulsion technology to be applied more widely in the space sector and beyond.

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Swedish Space Corporation Invests in GlobalTrust Data Analytics Company

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — SSC is pleased to announce investment in a new start-up data analytics business with offices in the UK and Sweden to address some of the most crucial environmental and social issues of the time. GlobalTrust will focus on supporting public policy and corporate social responsibility imperatives that are aligned with societies’ expectations and working towards a better and more sustainable planet.

This initiative is being led by SSC and is supported by the UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult – a government established not-for-profit company with its core mandate focused on promoting and enabling industrial growth in the space sector.

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Government Unveils New Support for UK Space Hubs

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government has backed the development of new ‘space hubs’ across England, as well as funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Each area, dubbed a ‘space hub’, will use government funding to bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how their area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. Harwell in Oxfordshire established itself as a space hub in the last 10 years, and ministers want to replicate this success in other areas.

Funding is going to seven locations – including the North West, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire – to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to these areas.

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Astroscale Announces March 2021 Launch Date for World’s First Commercial Active Debris Removal Demonstration Mission

End-of-Life Service by Astroscale demonstrator (ELSA-d) satellite. (Credit: Astroscale UK Ltd)

ELSA-d is the first mission to demonstrate the core technologies necessary for space debris docking and removal, a major step towards expanding on-orbit services and achieving Astroscale’s vision of safe and sustainable space for the benefit of future generations.

TOKYO, November 18, 2020 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market-leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, today announced that its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission will launch on a Soyuz rocket operated by GK Launch Services from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, in March 2021.

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Kepler Announces Successful Launch of Third Satellite

TARS satellite (Credit: Kepler Communications)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, September 3, 2020 (Kepler Communications PR) – Kepler’s Low Earth Orbit constellation expanded earlier today with the successful launch of its third satellite. This satellite, internally referred to as TARS, was launched onboard the Arianespace Vega SSMS (Small Spacecraft Mission Service) from the Guiana Space Centre at approximately 01:51 UTC, with communication established shortly thereafter.

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