UK National Space Strategy

Yokel

LE
As this covers both the civil and defence sectors, I though that this was the most suitable forum.

National space strategy

Space plays a critical role in our daily lives. Satellites orbiting the Earth keep us connected, support our defence and security, help us navigate, and monitor the climate and weather. The UK’s space sector is a vital part of our economy, worth over £16.4 billion per year and employing over 45,000 people across the UK.

This first ever National Space Strategy brings together the UK’s strengths in science and technology, defence, regulation and diplomacy to pursue a bold national vision...
 
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Can we send this lot as an advance guard...
 
We have our own Space Agency? I thought that was why we sent aid to India.
The UK has its own National Space Centre.

It's just outside Leicester.

Blink and you'll miss it.
 

Yokel

LE
A lot of companies involved in the aerospace sector supply components and sub assemblies for satellites and others make ground segment equipment. We could and possibly should be doing more...

Anyway, British policy towards space has been incoherent since the start of the space age. In the 1950s the UK was trying to develop the Blue Streak missile as a successor to the V Bomber force as the vehicle for the nuclear deterrent and when it was cancelled, it was considered as the first stage of a European launcher with other countries providing other stages. The project was abandoned in the 1960s.

Britain started to produce satellites in the late 1950s, I believe. The Royal Navy in particular was interested in satellite communications, which led to the Skynet idea, a constellation of satellites in geosynchronous orbit. When British forced withdrew from 'East of Suez' work was stopped.

A launcher called Black Arrow was developed by Saunders Roe (later Westland) and launched from Woomera in Australia, putting a scientific satellite called Prospero into orbit in the early 1970s. However the project was cancelled because the Government needed to cut spending and the mandarins could not see a commercial of military use for satellite launch. They could find funds for Concorde, which was seen as commercially lucrative. As far as I know the UK has never been a full participant in the French led Ariane programme.

In 1982 the task force in the South Atlantic was able to use American communications satellites. As a consequence of the Falklands experience it was decided to revive the Skynet idea - and the UK also produced identical satellites for NATO. There was also a proposed British signals intelligence satellite, to be launched by the US Space Shuttle. A number of British personnel were designated as mission specialists, but that idea was abandoned after the Challenger disaster.

Other projects such as the HOTOL system proposed by British Aerospace and Rolls Royce, were killed by political interference. I fail to see why we did not buy in to Ariane - if nothing else for the workshare.
 
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As this covers both the civil and defence sectors, I though that this was the most suitable forum.

National space strategy

Space plays a critical role in our daily lives. Satellites orbiting the Earth keep us connected, support our defence and security, help us navigate, and monitor the climate and weather. The UK’s space sector is a vital part of our economy, worth over £16.4 billion per year and employing over 45,000 people across the UK.

This first ever National Space Strategy brings together the UK’s strengths in science and technology, defence, regulation and diplomacy to pursue a bold national vision...
 

Yokel

LE
As for why I think we missed an opportunity to develop industrial capabilities by not buying into the Ariane programme and particularly Ariane 5, see this video about the launcher being constructed. Significant parts are produced in Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands, as well as France.

 

Yokel

LE
At the other end of the scale from the heavy lift types like Ariane that put satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits we also have micro launchers that put small payloads into Low Earth Orbits.

Orbex applies for licence to launch first rockets from Scotland

Orbex has submitted its application to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a launch licence, the latest stage on its roadmap to beginning commercial space launches from the UK.

Orbex has already successfully completed pre-application meetings with the CAA, the UK’s new space regulator. It has now progressed to the application stage, becoming one of the first UK launch operators to do so. The licence application process is another key milestone in the journey that will see Orbex begin rocket launches from Space Hub Sutherland in the North of Scotland.

The CAA launch licence ensures that operators meet the regulatory requirements set by the UK’s Space Industry Act 2018 (SIA) and Space Industry Regulations 2021 (SIR). This legislation was recently introduced by the UK government to support its national space strategy.

Space Hub Sutherland is the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport and the only spaceport in the UK to have received full planning permission. Construction of the spaceport is due to begin later this year.

Meanwhile, the Orbex ‘Prime’ rocket is soon to be tested on the Orbex LP1 launch platform at a facility in Kinloss, close to the Orbex headquarters in Forres, where full ‘dress rehearsals’ of launch procedures will take place.

Prime is a micro-launcher designed to transport small satellites weighing around 150kg to low Earth orbit. Is it poised to become the world’s most environmentally friendly space rocket with a carbon footprint up to 96 per cent lower than comparable space launch programmes.
 

FrosteeMARIA

LE
Gallery Guru
I’ve seen the sign and often wondered what’s there. Possibly just a big space.
Went to the opening - decent place, but it's more of a 'museum' if that's the right phrase to use. There is collaborative development with the University Physics dept (who also had a hand in some of the Mars Rover projects - prototypes were built there and I remember seeing them testing them on campus!)
Worth a visit What's here - The National Space Centre
 

Yokel

LE
MTD MFG: Orbex has first rocket launchpad constructed in the UK for more than 50 years

The first rocket launchpad constructed in the UK for more than 50 years is now in place at the Orbex test site in Kinloss, Scotland.

Orbex LP1 is the first launchpad of its kind to be built in the UK since the High Down Rocket Test Site facility on the Isle of Wight, which was decommissioned in the early 1970s. High Down was the test site for the Black Arrow rocket, the first – and so far only – British-made rocket to successfully deliver a satellite into Earth’s orbit, launching from Woomera in Australia on October 28, 1971[ii].

The new launchpad – known as ‘Orbex LP1’ – recently completed an 80-mile road trip from Peterhead to Kinloss on two trucks, accompanied by a police escort. The three-hour journey through the dramatic Scottish countryside during sun, rain and snow was captured in a short film which is available at:

The film also shows the 40-tonne structure being crane-lifted into place at the Orbex rocket launch test site at Kinloss.

Orbex LP1 was fabricated by Motive Offshore Group, a leading Scottish company specialising in the design and manufacture of marine and lifting equipment. It was constructed onsite at Motive’s headquarters in Banff, Scotland, and is built and tested to meet strict international standards.

Full ‘dress rehearsals’ of launch procedures for the Orbex ‘Prime’ rocket can now take place at the test site. Orbex Prime is a micro-launcher designed to transport small satellites weighing around 150kg to low Earth orbit. It will eventually launch from its ‘home’ spaceport at Sutherland in the North of Scotland.
 

Yokel

LE
Another paper - a report commissioned by A study commissioned by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) to identify factors shaping implementation of the Defence Space Strategy to 2030.

Realising the ambitions of the UK’s Defence Space Strategy

This study analyses strategic, policy and capability choices facing the implementation of the MOD’s new Defence Space Strategy.

The study was conducted in 2021 and had three core research objectives:

  1. map out the key factors shaping implementation of the Defence Space Strategy
  2. identify and articulate key elements of UK Defence’s “value proposition” in the space domain
  3. design a high-level decision support tool to navigate capability management decisions around the own-collaborate-access framework outlined in the 2021 Integrated Review and the associated Defence and Security Industrial Strategy (DSIS)
The concluding chapters to the report provide additional detail on the implications for UK Defence.

The key findings of the study include:

  • MOD needs to be ambitious and needs to build space literacy in the UK
  • Defence is likely to be a “market taker” rather than “market maker” in many areas, given the dual-use nature of space technology
  • equally, this brings opportunities (innovation for example.) in a domain less encumbered by legacy choices, platforms or structures
  • there is a window of opportunity for UK Defence to do things differently in space (for example around multi-domain integration, acquisition or ties with industry)
  • there is a need for prioritisation around own-collaborate-access choices; own where necessary, collaborate where possible, access where prudent
  • to exploit new opportunities, UK Defence needs to appreciate and – crucially – communicate its evolving “value proposition” to different audiences including across-MOD and Whitehall, and with allies, industry, academia and the public
 

Yokel

LE
There are non defence activities too, and promotion of commercial and technical activities.

National Space Technical Programme

The UK Space Agency designs and delivers programmes that implement the government’s space strategy, as a sponsor of national capabilities and an early-stage investor in space research and development. We promote the UK space sector’s interests and achievements, make connections to join up industry and academia, and represent the UK in international space programmes.

The National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) is intended to build UK capability by stimulating growth of the space sector encouraging knowledge exchange and welcoming new entrants while striving to secure a strong foundation for growth and resilience across the UK.

NSTP offers funding opportunities for early-stage technology development projects across all ranges, from start-up companies to more established industry. We encourage collaboration on projects both large and small, inspiring new and existing industries to develop and contribute to the growth of the national economy. Whether industry, academia, or not-for-profit, the programme welcomes applications from all sectors. As a team, we work across the UK Space Agency providing strategic links to future opportunities.

NSTP announces opportunities on our webpages. Calls for funding will be linked (although not exclusively) to national priorities creating opportunities for UK organisations to de-risk or introduce novel technology which could create potential to bid into larger national programmes when opportunities arise.

The NSTP team co-ordinate and oversee the activities of each project, ensuring that the Agency objectives are met.

Project Highlights

Steerable thrusters

NREP AstroTube™ Max Boom Industrial Research

Light-field photography

An optical fibre sensor to measure nanometre changes in position

Ku-Band Satellite Receiver with a difference

MicroLaunch Rectenna


 

Yokel

LE
Lockheed Martin outlines plans to build new £50 million facility in the UK

Lockheed Martin, a global leader in space systems development, manufacturing and services, is looking for North East businesses and skills organisations to support its plans to develop a bold new future for the UK’s space sector. Senior executives from the company are in Newcastle today to explore options for its space business, which could potentially include manufacturing as well as research and development based in the North East.

Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin’s UK and Europe regional director for Space, says that with favourable market conditions and the government’s ambition to grow the sector, the company is exploring options for a new facility in the North East which could create up to 2,300 jobs. It would play a critical role in supporting the Government’s Levelling Up agenda and accelerate the UK’s National and Defence Space Strategies by increasing the space and security capabilities available to government, commercial customers, and the export market. Such a facility would represent an investment of over £50 million.

“We are committed to making the UK one of the most prosperous and capable space sectors in the world. With its strong manufacturing heritage, highly-skilled workforce and reputation for quality, we’ve identified North East England as a strong contender for our future operations, potentially creating new high-technology engineering and manufacturing jobs for the region,” Smith said.

Lockheed Martin is already active in the UK’s space sector. It is currently in partnership with the UK Space Agency and Saxa Vord Space Centre in the Shetlands, to conduct northern Europe’s first vertical satellite launch. This is expected to create hundreds of jobs and inject millions of pounds into the Shetland Islands economy. The company is also a founding member of the UK’s new national space team, Athena, which includes Serco, Inmarsat and CGI UK, who each are world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses, and other organisations. Athena is committed to using its expertise and global presence to grow the UK’s space sector.


l can think of lots of subcontractors and component suppliers who will benefit - all high value work.
 

Yokel

LE
Here is a documentary about the projects that eventually led to our own launcher - Black Arrow.




The politicians and their advisers decided that there was no commercial future for satellite launch, and that because we were in the process of withdrawing to the NATO theatre we had no need for military communications satellites.

I do not understand the Chemistry in Scott Manley's videos, but someone like @Ortholith probably does!
 

Yokel

LE
First UK satellite launch in summer 2022

The first satellite launch from the UK will take place this summer as Prometheus-2 takes off from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, the Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin has announced today.

Built by In-Space Missions Ltd, based in Hampshire, and designed with Airbus Defence and Space, Prometheus-2 is a collaboration between the UK Ministry of Defence and international partners, including the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Two shoebox-sized satellites, ‘Cubesats’, will provide a test platform for monitoring radio signals including GPS and sophisticated imaging, paving the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system with our allies.

This space mission will allow MOD to better understand how the UK and its international partners can work together to create a more capable and flexible system at a lower cost than could be achieved alone. The technology on board the satellites will enable MOD to identify new techniques and algorithms for operating satellites and data processing.


What launch vehicle will they use?
 
First UK satellite launch in summer 2022

The first satellite launch from the UK will take place this summer as Prometheus-2 takes off from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, the Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin has announced today.

Built by In-Space Missions Ltd, based in Hampshire, and designed with Airbus Defence and Space, Prometheus-2 is a collaboration between the UK Ministry of Defence and international partners, including the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Two shoebox-sized satellites, ‘Cubesats’, will provide a test platform for monitoring radio signals including GPS and sophisticated imaging, paving the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system with our allies.

This space mission will allow MOD to better understand how the UK and its international partners can work together to create a more capable and flexible system at a lower cost than could be achieved alone. The technology on board the satellites will enable MOD to identify new techniques and algorithms for operating satellites and data processing.


What launch vehicle will they use?
Virgin Orbit - an air-launched rocket carried by a B747 called Cosmic Girl
 

Yokel

LE
Virgin Orbit - an air-launched rocket carried by a B747 called Cosmic Girl

Not really launching from Cornwall is it? It sounds very similar to the Pegasus launcher from Orbital - which is/was from a Tristar aircraft that had been converted by Marshall Aerospace in the UK. Could we have bought Pegasus ourselves - I imagine that export controls would not ne an issue.

We should have bought in to the Ariane programme in the 1970s.
 
Not really launching from Cornwall is it? It sounds very similar to the Pegasus launcher from Orbital - which is/was from a Tristar aircraft that had been converted by Marshall Aerospace in the UK. Could we have bought Pegasus ourselves - I imagine that export controls would not ne an issue.

We should have bought in to the Ariane programme in the 1970s.
Spaceport Cornwall would be very sad to read that. Semantics aside, the launch has to start somewhere.
 
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