The Government has announced plans to fund the design and build of a community satellite for Cornwall.

Kernow Sat 1 will be the first satellite designed, manufactured and launched in Cornwall – with the intention of it forming part of Virgin Orbit’s first UK launch next year from Spaceport Cornwall.

In line with Spaceport Cornwall’s mission of championing the use of satellites for environmental monitoring, the satellite will bring together the community to problem solve issues around Cornwall’s marine health and its Blue Economy.

The Government funding will be used for the research, design and build of CubeSat: Kernow Sat 1. The research will be undertaken by the University of Exeter who will be running a think tank with experts in the marine field to establish the exact data requirements to effectively research and implement activities surrounding the health of Cornwall’s coasts and associated economy.

The build will be undertaken in collaboration with Oregon State University’s Open Source CubeSat and KISPE Space, who will share expertise and knowledge with Spaceport Cornwall’s outreach team. The team will work alongside Truro and Penwith College, using their new Space Technology Training programme to build the Kernow Sat 1 in Cornwall.

Once complete, Cornwall’s intention is that this payload will be one of the first payloads to be processed at Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Melissa Thorpe, interim head of Spaceport Cornwall, said: “We are thrilled that this payload will be part of the first launch from Spaceport Cornwall. Engaging with the community and protecting the environment through Earth Observation are an integral part of Spaceport’s purpose and we hope it is just the start of a series of community launches that will help influence local policy decisions and bring space down to Cornwall.”

Glenn Caplin-Grey, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Kernow Sat 1 will be a real team effort, designed, built and launched right here in Cornwall, with its data used to inform decision-making on the ground. It’s a hugely exciting project that will inspire a new generation about the importance of space and the environment, while bolstering our space economy.”

Interim head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe