Key milestone

Prestwick signs launch partner for spaceport

Spaceport preparing for takeoff (impression)

Prestwick Airport and South Ayrshire Council have secured a launch partner to help realised plans for a spaceport.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Astraius whcih will bring horizontal launch technology to the project.

South Ayrshire Council is a key partner in the development of Prestwick Spaceport, having secured £80m of investment for the existing Prestwick Aerospace hub – part of the £250m Ayrshire Growth Deal funding..

The global satellite market is booming, with operators of technology no larger than a shoebox looking to access “Low Earth Orbit” (LEO) to carry out activities that include monitoring climate change, tracking deforestation and identifying illegal fishing or mining activities around the globe.

The announcement will substantially bolster Scotland’s space industry ambitions.

Kevin Seymour, Zoe Kilpatrick and Peter Henderson

Glasgow already manufactures more small satellites than anywhere in the world outside of California, while Edinburgh has positioned itself as the space data capital of Europe.

Scotland’s Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee said the MoU “signifies a major step towards bringing horizontal launch capability to Scotland.” 

He added: “Our ambition is for Scotland to be Europe’s leading space nation and to have a £4 billion share of the global space market by 2030, whilst developing launch capability – both vertical and horizontal – to serve small satellite producers.” 

Ivan McKee

Ivan McKee: space nation

Zoe Kilpatrick, commercial director at Prestwick Airport, which the government is hoping to sell, said: ““In Astraius we have identified a partner with the vision, expertise, and proven technology to help fast-track our ambition to become Europe’s premier launch location.”

Astraius CEO, Kevin Seymour, said: “This landmark agreement is both strategically and commercially significant.

“In partnering with Prestwick, we will be able to deliver on our promise to the many satellite customers looking for launch certainty.

“This is an important milestone for both Astraius and Prestwick Spaceport and will add to the development of a vibrant space sector for Scotland and the UK.”

Peter Henderson, leader of South Ayrshire Council, said the spaceport would bring a wide range of skilled jobs and a vibrant supply chain to the local area.

See also

‘Price hitch’ holding up sale of Prestwick Airport

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