Spaceport names interim head

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Spaceport Cornwall has announced the appointment of a new interim head, following the departure of Miles Carden.

Melissa Thorpe’s promotion makes her one of the first female leaders of a spaceport in the world. An economist with a background in aerospace and aviation, Thorpe has been head of engagement at Spaceport Cornwall since its inception in 2014.

She will be supported in this interim position by interim commercial director John Paffett and operations manager Luke Winfield.

Paffett brings decades of industry experience to support the spaceport team, in particular satellite engineering, manufacturing and operations. He is the CEO of KISPE Space Systems, a specialist project engineering, system design and implementation company, whose aim is to make space more accessible and to promote responsible and sustainable use.

A former airline pilot, Winfield will be responsible for implementing the UK Space Agency’s spaceflight regulations and applying for the spaceport licence. He will also work alongside the airport operations team at Cornwall Airport Newquay to ensure the safe integration of space launch into the airport.

Glenn Caplin-Grey, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We’re very glad to see Melissa take on this interim role and delighted to welcome John and Luke as supporting members of the Spaceport team.

“Their extensive combined experience in the space and aerospace sectors will be key to driving the project forward in 2021, laying the foundations for a safe and viable launch site.”

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