Prestwick Spaceport aims to become Europe’s premier space hub
A CAMPAIGN encouraging young people to “reach for the stars” is to be launched by Prestwick Spaceport and affiliated aerospace businesses.
Running throughout 2022, the “A New Hope” campaign, linked to South Ayrshire Council’s ‘Skypath’ initiative, will include an educational outreach video for students and teachers featuring local heroes from Ayrshire and across Scotland.
The initiative seeks to break down perceived barriers to accessing space careers and inspire young people to follow their dreams. It will highlight the increasing need for future generations to consider a career in an industry that is amongst the fastest growing in the UK.
Mick O’Connor, programme director of Prestwick Spaceport said: “We want to inspire young people to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.
“We have asked local heroes who have achieved success in different fields to help us by telling their own stories explaining how they achieved their goals to help young people realise that with the right desire, belief, and commitment they can achieve their own dreams.
“Many of us on the spaceport team never imagined working in space, so we are passionate about making the youth of Ayrshire aware of the possibilities.”
The “A New Hope” campaign is supported by the £251.5m Ayrshire Growth Deal investment, a partnership between North, East and South Ayrshire Councils, together with Scottish and UK Governments.
Dr Philippa Whitford, MP for Central Ayrshire, emphasised the importance of encouraging young people to follow their dreams.
The SNP politician said: “Having become a consultant surgeon, despite being told that I couldn’t do surgery because I was a woman, I am always keen to encourage all young people to ignore the naysayers and go for careers in whatever interests them.
“To develop to its full potential, the Scottish Aero-Space sector needs to attract the brightest and best.”
Dr Whitford, who is also a member of the UK Parliamentary Space Committee, added: “It is vital we are not ignoring the talents of half of our young people but encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects and consider careers in science and engineering.”
Matt Archer, director of commercial spaceflight at the UK Space Agency, said: “Scotland is home to around one-fifth of all space jobs in the UK, and this campaign from Prestwick Spaceport is a great example of the types of initiatives we need to help inspire the next generation to reach for the stars and consider careers in the UK’s thriving space sector.”
The spaceport aims to become Europe’s premier space hub and has already secured multi-million-pound funding through the Ayrshire Growth Deal.
By 2035 the spaceport will provide a range of services, including air-launch of satellites up to a mass of 800k, microgravity flights, and hypersonic flight services.
The first commercial rocket launches are set to take place in autumn 2023.