Aerospace & Defence

What and where is Spaceport Cornwall?

19th April 2024
Harry Fowle

Spaceport Cornwall is a name we are hearing more and more in the Aerospace and Defence industry, but what and where is Spaceport Cornwall?

Spaceport Cornwall is an essential and growing hub for aerospace activity in the United Kingdom, poised to become a key player in satellite launch operations and space research. Officially located at Cornwall Airport Newquay, in the South West of England, Spaceport Cornwall offers a strategic location for access to polar and sun-synchronous orbits, favoured for earth observation satellites.

Overview of Spaceport Cornwall

Spaceport Cornwall aims to facilitate a range of satellite launches, offering a unique infrastructure that supports both horizontal and vertical launch missions. It has been developed in partnership with Virgin Orbit, a prominent player in the aerospace industry. This collaboration is designed to leverage Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket, which is capable of air-launching small satellites into space.

The significance of Spaceport Cornwall extends beyond just launching satellites; it is seen as a catalyst for economic growth in the region. The project is expected to create new job opportunities and stimulate local businesses by attracting further investments in aerospace and related sectors.

Strategic importance and operations

The choice of Cornwall as a spaceport location is strategic due to its geographical position on the southwestern tip of the UK, providing clear flight paths over the Atlantic Ocean. This location minimises risks associated with populated areas and maximises the range of available launch azimuths for different orbital requirements.

Spaceport Cornwall is not just about satellite launches; it also aims to serve as a centre for space education and public engagement. The spaceport includes facilities for mission control, payload processing, and integration, making it a comprehensive site for end-to-end satellite launch services.

The future of Spaceport Cornwall

Looking ahead, Spaceport Cornwall is expected to play a vital role in the UK's ambitions to capture a significant share of the global small satellite launch market. With the increasing demand for satellite-based services, such as telecommunications, earth observation, and scientific research, the spaceport is well-positioned to support the rapid deployment of satellite constellations.

In summary, Spaceport Cornwall represents a significant development in the UK's aerospace sector, enhancing its capabilities in satellite technology and launch operations. Its strategic location, coupled with advanced facilities and a strong partnership with Virgin Orbit, positions it as a pivotal player in the global space industry, promising to drive technological, economic, and educational advancements.

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