Spaceport Cornwall open for business


Spaceport Cornwall has officially opened its Space Systems Integration Facility, heralding a new era of capability within small satellite services.

Virgin Orbit CEO, Dan Hart, attended the opening ceremony, along with Ian Annett, the deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency.

This facility forms part of the Centre for Space Technologies, which also comprises the Space Systems Operation Facility, an adjacent R&D work and office space that will complete early next year.

The opening of the state-of-the-art building comes ahead of the first-ever orbital UK launch and will be where the six satellite payloads will be integrated into Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket.

These will include the first ever satellite launched by the Sultanate of Oman focused on earth observation; future-facing return satellite tech aboard Wales’ first satellite, built by Space Forge; a maritime monitoring payload built by Horizon Technologies and the Satellite Applications Catapult; as well satellites from the MOD, DSTL and US National Reconnaissance Office.

Head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe, said: “The opening of the Space Systems Integration Facility is one of the final milestones towards reaching space from the UK. From breaking ground only 14 months ago, to having a world-class space facility completed ahead of launch, the pace of delivery is an incredible achievement for my team and contractors that made it happen.

“Cornwall now has a home for launch, where satellite technology can innovate to help us solve some of today’s most complex problems on Earth. This is where the real value to Cornwall, and the UK, will come from and we will take a global lead in using space for good.”