Welcoming Cornwall’s first Spaceport

Newquay airport is home to Cornwall’s first Spaceport. With initial plans dating back to early 2014, Investment began in 2019 and now the Spaceport is ready to launch its first satellite in late 2022 early 2023.

The Spaceport runs in conjunction with commercial flights and that makes it the first of its kind, as Virgin Orbit has a method of launching satellites which utilises a traditional runway. The Horizontal launch made possible by their modified Boeing aircraft cuts out the specialised launchpads which we typically associate with space travel

By giving companies a low-cost method of launching satellites the spaceport hopes to advance our science and technology industries. Cornwall Council has committed to the Spaceport becoming carbon neutral by 2030 aiming to become the world’s very first New-Zero Spaceport in the world.

Benefits of Virgin Orbit’s Horizontal launch

Although the concept is not new the horizontal launch is revolutionary and open to further development in the coming years

The benefits of the unique launch method include the cost, it is cheaper than traditional methods to fire satellites into space from Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft known as Cosmic girl

Virgin’s Orbital launch makes use of runways suitable for larger cargo planes giving them greater flexibility than the specially equipped launch pads

The greatest benefit of the horizontal launch has to be the increased accessibility. Due to the lower costs many companies can send their equipment into space where they may not have been able to do so. This gives smaller companies and research labs a seat at the table.

Current Projects

The Spaceports first launch includes a research satellite known as the Kernow Sat 1 Satellite, and once in space the satellite will measure rates of ocean pollution and cliffside erosion alongside mapping other environmental concerns

Other projects in the pipeline include further development into research equipment and software to monitor the effects of climate change. This will lead to greater efforts towards developing solutions to some of the main issues facing the world in years to come such as rising sea levels and rising Co2 Levels

Future investment

Going forward, companies such as Virgin Orbit, Space Forge, Horizon Technologies and a few more will use the base to launch satellite carrying rockets. These satellites are put into Low Earth Orbit to assist in things such as research and global connectivity.

By choosing Cornwall for the spaceport there are hopes that it will bring in investment to the area thus supporting further development for sustainable energy in the area. Jobs will be created for the development of wind farms.

The Cornwall Spaceport will support an apprenticeship scheme, as of March 2022 employers across the Cornwall space sector were encouraged to open up vacancies and this scheme is promising with a range of apprenticeships opening in areas such as telecommunications, rocket design and manufacturing processes.

The Spaceport looks forward to being a part of the UK’s step into space and with so much potential who knows what advancements they’ll bring!