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Sun December 05 2021

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Prestwick strikes spaceport deal

22 Sep Glasgow Prestwick Airport has struck a deal with a satellite launching company that bolsters Scotland’s space industry ambitions.

Vision of Prestwick Spaceport
Vision of Prestwick Spaceport

Prestwick airport and South Ayrshire Council have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Astraius, a UK/US small and medium satellite launch company.

The agreement brings together proven horizontal launch technology – which allows the release of a rocket carrying small satellites from high altitude – with a spaceport development.

Satellites no larger than a shoebox are frequently sent into low earth orbit (LEO) to carry out activities that include monitoring climate change, tracking deforestation and identifying illegal fishing or mining activities around the globe.

Prestwick Spaceport, on the west coast of Scotland, has already secured £80m funding through the Ayrshire Growth Deal as it seeks to become the leading horizontal launch spaceport in Europe. The spaceport is now setting out to create a space supply-chain network.

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The MoU with Astraius is seen as significant by both the national and regional governments. The Scottish government’s business minister, Ivan McKee, said: “Our ambition is for Scotland to be Europe’s leading space nation and to have a £4bn share of the global space market by 2030, whilst developing launch capability – both vertical and horizontal – to serve small satellite producers. The announcement today brings us a step closer to achieving our ambition and proves once again the versatility and dynamism of the Scottish space sector.”

Zoe Kilpatrick, commercial director at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “This is both commercially exciting for the flagship element of Prestwick’s established aerospace hub and an important strategic step in developing launch capability for the UK. Partnering with the right service provider is critical for any launch location and Astraius is best suited to provide the required impetus and momentum to this exciting endeavour.”

Astraius chief executive Kevin Seymour added: “This landmark agreement is both strategically and commercially significant. In 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 both Astraius and Prestwick Spaceport and will add to the development of a vibrant space sector for Scotland and the UK.”

Astraius chief executive Kevin Seymour (left), Glasgow Prestwick commercial director Zoe Kilpatrick and South Ayrshire Council leader Peter Henderson (right)
Astraius chief executive Kevin Seymour (left), Glasgow Prestwick commercial director Zoe Kilpatrick and South Ayrshire Council leader Peter Henderson (right)

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