Spaceport Cornwall seeks legal advice ahead of first UK launch

Spaceport Cornwall seeks legal advice ahead of first UK launch

A South West-headquartered law firm is providing legal advice to Spaceport Cornwall ahead of the launch of the UK’s first satellite from the site this summer.

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Foot Anstey’s Space and Satellite team collaborated with Spaceport Cornwall’s professional advisors to support its preparations for the launch near Newquay.

Spaceport Cornwall is a consortium of partners including Cornwall Council, Virgin Orbit, Goonhilly Earth Station and the UK Space Agency, working together to deliver the country’s first spacecraft launch.

The group has required specialist legal support and advice to make sure it is compliant with the relevant legislation and regulatory frameworks such as the new Space Industry Act 2018.

The Foot Anstey team included John Catchpole, a partner who led the team and advised on land powers and security; Christian Silk, a partner and environmental and planning expert; safety legal expert Tim Williamson, who is also a legal director; and Fergus Baker, a senior associate who advised on corporate structuring and governance.

Mr Catchpole said: “We are privileged and excited to support Spaceport Cornwall and its partners to deliver the first ever launch of a spacecraft from UK soil into orbit this summer. This first launch represents a huge milestone for the UK space sector as part of the development of the wider commercial space industry.”

In March, Virgin Orbit and European in-space manufacturing tech start-up Space Forge signed an agreement to launch the first satellite developed in the principality.

The satellite will be launched as part of a broader joint UK-US mission to open the country’s first domestic space port later this year from Spaceport Cornwall.

Last year, Cardiff-based Space Forge secured a £7.7m equity boost in what was Europe’s largest ever seed-funding round for a space tech company.

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