Prestwick Spaceport takes giant leap towards launch with exciting new deal announced
Plans to launch rockets from Prestwick within two years have taken a giant leap forward.
The Spaceport operation has confirmed a deal for two industry-leading firms to work with launch partner Astraius as the site gears up for business in 2024.
The companies – labelled “best-of-the-best” industry leaders and strategic suppliers – will accelerate plans for the first satellite launch from Prestwick in two years’ time.
Northrop Grumman has been selected as the first and second stage motor supplier and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor.
Northrop Grumman’s Orion solid rocket motors will boost the Astraius launch vehicle after its extraction from the unmodified C-17 carrier aircraft.
Completing the mission, Exquadrum’s bespoke Astraius upper stage will precisely place satellites in their intended orbits.
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It is hoped that Prestwick Spaceport will play a key role in supporting up to 4,000 local aerospace jobs for the Scottish space sector.
Situated adjacent to the airport, the Spaceport is an 880-acre site and 45,000 sq. m of office, warehouse and hangar space which will become home to many leading space industry companies over the coming years.
The new partnerships announced by Astraius moves the Spaceport one step closer to being fully operational as the team continue to build upon its offers.
Mick O’Connor, programme director of Prestwick Spaceport, said: “This move is intrinsic in our plans to build a truly global space industry here in Prestwick.
“Collaborating with two heavyweight, industry-leading, companies to work alongside Astraius in developing our spaceport offerings shows real confidence and that we really mean business.
“This partnership will ensure that we are offering state-of-the-art launch capabilities which will drive investment and jobs into the area.
“We remain firmly on track to have the first launch ready for 2024 and the potential for this Spaceport to completely reinvent both the economy of Ayrshire and Scotland.”
Sir George Zambellas, chairman of Astraius, said: “This is a hugely-exciting moment for Astraius. We have a winning combination of proven launch and propulsion systems paired with exquisite rocket motor technology to produce a world-class capability.
“When coupled with Prestwick Spaceport’s state-of-the-art launch vehicle and payload integration facilities, Scotland will be the UK’s leader for responsive space launch.”
Ian Annett, deputy chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “It is great to see these exciting new collaborations and this major milestone towards horizontal launch at Prestwick Spaceport with Astraius.
“Scotland’s space sector is booming and this partnership demonstrates the growing launch market, which will create jobs and opportunities across the UK and attract international investment.”