UKspace Welcomes Government’s Renewed Funding Commitment to ESA

HARWELL, UK, 27 November 2019 (UKspace PR) – UKspace has welcomed today’s announcement by the UK Government that it will increase its funding commitment to the European Space Agency (ESA) by more than 15% from its current contribution to £374 million per year.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the ESA Ministerial Summit which began in Seville today.

“We are extremely encouraged by the UK Government’s renewed investment in ESA and the associated European space programmes,” said UKspace Chair, Graham Peters.

“As we stated in our recently-published UKspace 2020 Manifesto, ESA funding provides the assurance we require to plan and deliver, since space is a long-term business. Previous spending through ESA has always delivered excellent returns for UK business, and this commitment will enable our sector to continue developing and manufacturing the space technologies, capability and supply chains needed to secure the UK’s role in the global space market.”

Graham added: “For the UK space industry to continue its upward curve – which has seen it secure more than 5% of the global space economy in recent years – ongoing Government support is critical. Looking ahead, we hope that this decision will be further backed up by the establishment of a National Space Programme designed to ensure the UK space sector plays an increasingly prominent role in the global space market, building cross-country partnerships and exporting knowledge and equipment.”

UK Invests in European Space Agency Programs

SEVILLE, Spain (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has today (28 November) announced it will invest £374m [$411.75 million] per year with the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver international space programmes over the next five years.

The UK is one of the founding members of ESA, an inter-governmental organisation established in 1975 to promote cooperation in space research, technology and applications development. ESA is independent of the EU, bringing together countries across Europe and around the world.

Membership enables the UK to collaborate with space agencies across the world on projects like the International Space Station and the ExoMars programme to send a UK-built rover to search for signs of life on Mars.

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Cornwall Council Approves $13.2 Million Grant for Virgin Orbit Project

Cosmic Girl performs first captive carry with LauncherOne. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Over strenuous environmental protests, the Cornwall Council approved a £10.3 million ($13.2 million) grant to fund improvements at Cornwall Airport Newquay to accommodate air launches by Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit.

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UKspace Seeks More Government Support in 2020 Manifesto

UKspace, the trade association that represents the United Kingdom’s space industry, and has issued a manifesto calling for more support for the sector.

It is reproduced below.

UKspace 2020 Manifesto

What the sector needs to compete in the new space race

The 1969 moon landing came after John F. Kennedy boldly set out to overtake the Soviet Union in the space race. In 2019, there is an entirely different contest occurring as rival nations set their sights on the rapidly growing global spacetech market.

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UK Space Agency Awards £7.35 million to Virgin Orbit to Support Cornwall Operations

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 performs its first captive carry of LauncherOne. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency will award £7.35 million [$9.44 million] to Virgin Orbit UK Limited, the UK branch of US launch operator Virgin Orbit, to enable horizontal launch of small satellites at Cornwall Airport Newquay, it was confirmed today (Tuesday 5 November).

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UK Space Agency Launches Competition for Business Ideas to Test on Space Station

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — British entrepreneurs could have their business ideas tested out on the International Space Station thanks to a new funding contest.

The UK Space Agency will provide funding and the first space flight for the winning concepts, which could be anything from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products.

Matched funding of up to £1 million is available via the UK Space Agency from the European Space Agency’s Business Applications Space Solutions fund. The announcement was made during World Space Week, which runs from 4 to 10 October.

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Reaction Engines to Support Research into UK Spaceport Feasibility

Campbeltown Airport

ABINGDON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — At the UK Space Conference, Science Minister Chris Skidmore and UK Space Agency confirmed a further £1.3 million towards developing spaceport plans in England, Scotland and Wales as part of the government’s spaceflight programme, LaunchUK.

The funding will be shared between three sites around the country and Reaction Engines will play a key role supporting the assessment undertaken by the owners of Machrihanish Airbase company behind one of these sites; the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC).

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Science Minister Hails ‘Incredible Strength’ of UK Space Industry

Chris Skidmore
  • New funding for UK business ideas to fly to the International Space Station
  • UK Space Agency to support one million STEM interactions with young people.
  • £20 million from government’s  Strategic Priorities Fund to upgrade UK capabilities in space weather modelling and measurement and £1.3 million for horizontal spaceport plans in England, Scotland and Wales.

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Government PR) — A new package of space funding was unveiled by Science Minister Chris Skidmore at the UK Space Conference in Newport today (Tuesday 24 September).

The government is committed to developing the UK’s national space capabilities while stepping up international collaborations, including through the European Space Agency.

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UK, Australian Space Agencies Agree to Develop a World’s First ‘Space Bridge’

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Space Agency PR) — The proposed ‘Space Bridge’, borne out of the highly successful ‘FinTech Bridge’ already in existence between the UK and Australia, will unlock greater collaboration between governments, regulators and industry.

The agreement, announced this morning at the UK Space Conference will further the ambitions set out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies in October 2018 and lay the foundations for swift and amicable negotiations for space-related opportunities under any potential future UK-Australia trading arrangements.

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Investment Minister Reinforces Support for Trade in Space Sector

Graham Stuart (Credit: Chris McAndrew)
  • Minister for Investment delivers a keynote speech at UK Space Conference in Newport
  • DIT announces support for £100m investment in Leicester Space Park that will create more than 2,500 jobs by 2020
  • Australian-UK Space Bridge to unlock growth and increase innovation in both countries

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Government PR) — On Tuesday, 24 September, the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart, delivered a keynote speech at the UK Space Conference 2019 in Newport, Wales to reinforce the government’s commitment to boosting investment and exports in the UK space sector.

UK space exports are set to grow to £25bn in the next decade, meeting the industry and government target for space exports to make up 60% of the sector’s revenue by 2030.

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Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Approves Spaceport Expenditures

Spaceport Cornwall got a boost on Wednesday as the Cornwall Council’s Cabinet narrowly approved the expenditure of £12 million ($14.79 million) to support Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit launch company.

The 6-4 vote sends the proposal to the full Cornwall Council for a vote at its next meeting on Nov. 26. The contribution is part of a £22.5 million ($28.1 million) program for upgrades to the Cornwall Airport Newquay that also includes:

  • UK Space Agency: £7.5m ($9.68 million)
  • Virgin Orbit: £2.5m ($3.1 million)
  • Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership: £500,000 ($616,295)

Virgin Orbit will use a Boeing 747 to air launch satellites using its LauncherOne booster. The company is planning to conduct its first test launch within the next two months.

According to a staff report prepared for the Cabinet, the funds would allow the airport to acquire a spaceport license, make improvements that will allow it to accommodate wide-body aircraft, accelerate progress on its Aerohub Enterprise Zone, and add value to its business park.

“Spaceport Cornwall is an opportunity for Cornwall to create high value jobs in a fast-growing sector that is worth £14.8bn in the UK,” the report stated. “The initial Spaceport project will create 150 direct jobs by 2025, which are 2.6 times more productive than the national average. This will add £200m [$249.5 million] Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy and will act as a catalyst for wider growth in associated sectors which use space derived data and applications.

“Specifically, Spaceport Cornwall will provide sovereign launch capability for small scale satellites and see a ‘pathfinder’ launch delivered by 2021,” the document added. “There are no plans to develop human space flight as part of the Spaceport Cornwall.”

Opposition to Spaceport Cornwall Plan

It seems not everyone is on board with plans by UK governments to spend $25 million to create a spaceport in Cornwall for billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit launch company.

Cornwall Live reports Nichola Andersen has written to members of the Cornwall Council’s Cabinet to urge them to vote against a £12 million [$14.79 million] package for upgrades to Cornwall Airport Newquay to accommodate Virgin Orbit operations. The Cornwall Council will vote on the package in November.

She states that the council’s carbon emissions report is flawed and says that the cost of the spaceport should be with Sir Richard Branson and not Cornwall’s taxpayers.

“The report that the council has had is not a proper carbon audit – it has been calculated just on launches by Virgin Orbit, it has not taken into account all the other aspects, the testing by Virgin, the transport of their staff, the other launches.

Under the proposals Cornwall Council would provide £12m [$14.79 million] of funding for the spaceport with £7.5m [$9.68 million] coming from the UK Space Agency and £2.5m [$3.1 million] from Virgin Orbit.

Nichola said: “Richard Branson is the only beneficiary of this. Cornwall Council should be saying there are better things that we can spend this money on that will benefit people in Cornwall.

Virgin Orbit plans to use a Boeing 747 to air launch satellites using its LauncherOne rocket. Officials said the first flight test of the new booster is expected this fall.

Cornwall Council Cabinet to Vote on $14.8 Million for Spaceport

CORNWALL, UK ( Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership PR) — Business and space industry leaders are backing plans to create the UK’s first horizontal launch spaceport in Cornwall.

Spaceport Cornwall would use planes rather than vertical take-off rockets to put satellites into space from Cornwall Airport Newquay as early as next year, in partnership with California-based launch company Virgin Orbit.

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Lacuna Space Achieves Major Milestone for LoRa® in Space

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (Lacuna Space PR) — Lacuna Space is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the first phase of testing in its mission to provide complete global coverage for LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) to anywhere in the world, no matter how remote.

Lacuna Space is at the forefront of satellite IoT connectivity, with low-cost and high-scalability as its fundamental tenets in its system design. Over the course of the last two years, Lacuna has been collaborating with Semtech Corporation to extend LoRa Technology connectivity to the whole world.

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