Virgin Orbit Mission Success Brings UK Launch Another Step Closer

The “Straight Up” mission carried seven satellites to Low Earth Orbit. (Credit: Virgin Orbit/David Massena)

LONDON (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit’s next satellite launch will take place from the UK, following the success of the “Straight Up” mission, which lifted off from Mojave in California earlier today (2 July 2022).

Science Minister George Freeman and the UK Space Agency welcomed the news that Virgin Orbit has successfully completed its fourth mission from California, and its first night launch.

With this mission complete, Virgin Orbit is on track for launch from Spaceport Cornwall later this year. The UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council are supporting the launch, with Spaceport Cornwall set to create 150 jobs in the local area.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

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U.S., UK Sign Declaration to Work Together on Space Activities

UK lays the foundation for rockets, high-altitude balloons and spaceplanes to lift off from spaceports across the UK, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

  • lift-off moment for UK-US spaceflight as Transport Secretary makes landmark declaration in Washington
  • partnership to cut red tape, making commercial launches from both countries easier and more streamlined 
  • comes as UK prepares for first satellite launch from home soil this year, creating thousands of high-skilled jobs 

WASHINGTON (UK Government PR) — Future spaceflight will be made easier and cheaper, following a landmark partnership with the United States to help cut red tape and boost opportunities in the UK, signed by the Transport Secretary this week in Washington.

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UK Space Sector Created 3,000 Jobs in 1 Year

Credit: UK Space Agency

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The number of UK space jobs continued to grow into 2020, despite the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures released today.

Employment in the UK space sector hit 46,995 in 2020, up from 44,040 in 2019: an increase of 2,955 (6.7%).

Sector income increased in nominal terms from £16.4 billion to £16.5 billion, with exports counting for around a third (32%) of this total. Space manufacturing, including satellites, spacecraft, launch vehicles and scientific instruments, grew the most in real terms; up by £23 million to £2.27 billion.

In line with the UK Government’s commitment to increasing public and private R&D spending, investment in research and development saw a 19% boost to £836 million.

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Lockheed Martin Accelerates UK Space Strategy As It Eyes Up New Manufacturing Investment In North East England For Its Growing UK Space Business

NEWCASTLE, UK, March 1, 2022 (Lockheed Martin PR) – Lockheed Martin, a global leader in space systems development, manufacturing and services, is looking for North East businesses and skills organisations to support its plans to develop a bold new future for the UK’s space sector. Senior executives from the company are in Newcastle today to explore options for its space business, which could potentially include manufacturing as well as research and development based in the North East.

Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin’s UK and Europe regional director for Space, says that with favourable market conditions and the government’s ambition to grow the sector, the company is exploring options for a new facility in the North East which could create up to 2,300 jobs. It would play a critical role in supporting the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and accelerate the UK’s National and Defence Space Strategies by increasing the space and security capabilities available to government, commercial customers, and the export market. Such a facility would represent an investment of over £50 million.

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UK Space Agency Gives Financial Boost to Space Clusters

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Ten space clusters across the UK have been given a boost, thanks to new UK Space Agency funding.

These regional hubs, known as space clusters, will support new and growing companies, building on local expertise and catalysing investment into the space sector.

Over £600,000 [US $812,267] will go towards supporting activities that create jobs and growth, including recruiting space cluster managers, to strengthen local space sector leadership groups and developing new business opportunities.

The funding comes as the Government is set to unveil its flagship Levelling Up White Paper later today (2 February 2022), setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

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Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin Announces the Defence Space Strategy

Jeremy Quin

Speech
Kings College London
1 February 2022

It’s a huge pleasure to be here today on the next step in our execution of the Integrated Review, the Defence Command Paper and Defence and Security Industrial Strategy.

A lot has happened in Defence in the last year. From assisting in homeland resilience in issues as varied at vaccine delivery to Heavy Goods Vehicle support to the largest Royal Navy deployment in decades making our positive presence felt on the far side of the world.

Above all, as I speak, the Defence Secretary is meeting NATO partners, discussing the truly concerning situation on Ukraine’s borders – the most serious threat of a major war on our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

However the British people know that what they can always expect from UK Defence is calm, determined, delivery.

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UK Space Agency Provides New Funding to Support Sustainable Future of Space

Distribution of space debris. (Credit: ESA)
  • Space debris is a major threat to the satellite services we rely on
  • 13 projects involve industry and academia across the UK

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is providing £1.7 million [US $2.3 million] for new projects to support sustainable space operations, Science Minister George Freeman announced today.

The 13 new projects will help track and remove dangerous debris in space. They include an AI-based tool which can take autonomous action to avoid a collision and another which will see multiple small spacecraft fired at debris before taking it into the atmosphere to dispose of it.

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UK Cutting-edge Space Defence Backed by £1.4 Billion

  • UK’s first Defence Space Strategy published today to address growing threats
  • £1.4 billion invested in cutting-edge technology to protect UK interests in space
  • UK will strengthen partnerships with key allies and NATO to build stability and resilience

LONDON (Ministry of Defence PR) — The UK will invest £1.4 billion [US $1.9 billion] to bolster our national interests in space, as part of the first Defence Space Strategy published today.

Following publication of the National Space Strategy in September last year, the Defence Space Strategy (DSS) outlines how Defence will protect the UK’s national interests in space in an era of ever-growing threats, stimulating growth across the sector and supporting highly skilled jobs across the UK.

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Virgin Orbit Mission Brings Air Launch Closer to UK Operations

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

Satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall is a step closer following Virgin Orbit’s successful ‘Above the Clouds’ mission in the US.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency welcomes the news that Virgin Orbit has successfully completed its third mission from California on Thursday 13 January, launching several satellites into orbit from beneath the wing of a 747.

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UK and UN Join Forces in Using Space Tech to Tackle Climate Change

GLASGOW, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — A new project to map existing work to tackle climate action through the use of space technology and identify what more could be done has been launched by the UK Space Agency and the United Nations at COP26.

The government’s National Space Strategy, which was unveiled in September, set out an ambition for the UK to be a leader on using space for climate action. Now, the UK Space Agency will work with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on a new review of existing activity on climate action through the use of space technologies.

The aim is to develop a strategic view of climate activities being carried out in space on a scale that has never been done before and, through this, increase policy coherence across the multilateral system and relevant international organisations.

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UK Unveils “Bold” Strategy to Develop World Class Space Industry

  • National Space Strategy sets out long-term plans to strengthen the UK’s status as a world-class space nation
  • New vision will help grow UK’s multibillion-pound space industry, boost private investment and capitalise on UK strengths such as satellite manufacturing
  • Brings together UK government civil and defence space activities to protect UK interests at home and abroad

LONDON (UK Government PR) — New plans to strengthen the UK as a world class space nation by firing up its multibillion-pound space industry have been set out in a National Space Strategy  launched today.

From connecting people with their friends and family and monitoring climate to helping farmers to manage their crops, space plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, and is a vital part of the UK economy, worth over £16 billion per year.

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Defence Secretary Announces Plans for UK Space Command

Ben Wallace

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Speech at Defence Space Conference 2020
18 November 2020

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace talks about transforming in the new Space Age.

Good afternoon, it’s a great pleasure to speak to you at the end of what has clearly been a fascinating and wide-ranging conference.

The variety of speakers – over 45, from the UK and overseas, and military and civilian sectors, as well as academia and private industry – shows just how important space is, right across today’s society.

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