A memorandum of understanding has been signed with Astraius for the organizations to collaborate on the orbital launch of small satellites from 2023. They will also work with other project partners, such as the Scottish and UK governments.
Ayrshire spaceport, represented by Glasgow Prestwick Airport and the South Ayrshire Council, describes it as a landmark deal that will boost the ambitions of the Scottish space industry. Enabling the launch of small satellites, the site aims to provide cost-effective access to LEO and microgravity environments.
“Glasgow Prestwick Airport is perfectly positioned to become a leading provider of space launch services after being at the forefront of aviation and aerospace for nearly 100 years,” said the commercial director from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Zoe Kilpatrick (photo 2e just above).
“In Astraius, we have identified a partner with the vision, expertise and proven technology to help us accelerate our ambition to become Europe’s leading launch site, offering spaceflight as part of of a proposal that extends beyond the launch, bringing a wide range of sites related to space. benefits for the region.
Astreius is a London-based satellite launch provider, with executive offices in Washington DC and operational sites in Alabama, Florida and Scotland. Its launch system can send satellites in all tilts of low earth orbit, equatorial orbit, solar synchronization and geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The company plans to begin horizontal launches – which it describes as “proven, reliable, weatherproof and cost effective” – in 2023.
The C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft, pictured above, will operate from the spaceport to transport and launch the Astraius rocket, to provide the “air launch” platform.
According to Astraius, its payload processing, vehicle integration, launch telemetry and a new mission control center will provide one of the most advanced launch facilities in the world.
Company CEO Kevin Seymour (photo 2nd left above) commented:
“This historic agreement is both strategic and commercially important. By 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 Astraius and Prestwick Spaceport and will help develop a vibrant space sector for Scotland and the UK.
Note that Prestwick will face competition from Spaceport Cornwall, at Cornwall Newquay Airport
in June, the American company Sierra Space signed a memorandum of understanding with the Cornish Spaceport for horizontal launches. It would use vehicles such as Sierra Space’s reusable Dream Chaser.
Spaceport Cornwall has also courted the services of Virgin Orbit, which has previously claimed it will achieve the UK’s very first sovereign orbital launch from the site in 2022.
The British space agency currently recognizes seven space ports. Five are in Scotland, one in Wales and one in England.
They are: Scotland), Shetland Space Center (Lamba Ness, Unst, Shetland Isles, pictured), Spaceport Snowdonia (Llanbedr, Gwynedd, Wales) and Spaceport Cornwall (Cornwall Airport, Newquay, England).
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