On your marks, get set, go: Britain is on its way to the next space race

The UK is destined for a seat in the next space race, the Transport Secretary said today, as the government prepares for Virgin’s Orbit trade mission – the UK’s first flight to the ‘space.

The National Space Agency (NSA) confirmed on Monday that space flights will soon be a reality as the government has funded space ports that are expected to be ready for use next summer.

“The Virgin Orbit mission will be a big first – the launch of satellite launches from UK soil. Britain will indeed be back in space launches and on track to achieve this government’s first strategic objective on the high frontier: a 10% market share of global space trade by 2030 Minister Grant Shapps wrote commenting on an article in The telegraph today.

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Space ports will also facilitate satellite launches, to improve data and communications, but will also enhance satellite navigation and observation.

Likewise, for commercial airlines, the space is opening up as a market for commercial giants like Virgin.

“As rocket and satellite technology becomes more compact and affordable, private enterprise is stepping into action,” Shapps continued. “This country is well positioned to reap the benefits of a global industry expected to be worth £ 400 billion a year by 2030.”

Cornwall’s first spaceport, whose legislation was proposed just two weeks before the region-based G7 summit, is expected to power commercial space flight technologies, according to the NSA.

Read more: UK companies to help plot ‘constellation’ of satellites around Moon

Space centers will not stop in Cornwall, Shapps added, confirming that the government has embarked on new vertical launch operations in the Shetlands and Sutherland in Scotland and in Snowdonia in Wales.

The new spaceport regulations Shapps released this week will allow satellites to be launched from UK territory for the first time, and companies considering the venture can apply for licenses from this summer, he said. .

“Regulations are the most flexible in the world, allowing businesses to meet safety and environmental requirements however they see fit.

“Next year we expect a giant Boeing 747 to take off from Newquay to Cornwall, with a rocket attached to its inner port wing. It will then fly into the Atlantic at a launch altitude of about 40,000 feet and release its payload.

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“As it moves away, the two-stage rocket ignites, accelerating to ‘escape speed’ before delivering a series of mini-satellites into low earth orbit.”

British engineers are currently working on a Synergistic Breathing Rocket Engine (SABER) project.

The SABER project could make most conventional single-use rocket launchers obsolete, according to the transport secretary.

“London to Sydney would take two hours. There is one problem, however: Engines running at Mach 5 melt. So our engineers have developed a unique cooling system that can lower the temperature of the air entering the engine by over 1000 Celsius to ambient temperatures in 1 / 100th of a second. “

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Travis Durham

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