UK National Space Strategy

Yokel

LE
Spaceport Cornwall would be very sad to read that. Semantics aside, the launch has to start somewhere.

I take your point.

I assume that the launch aircraft will take off from Newquay, but it is not quite the same as a rocket blasting off from a launch pad. Nonetheless I would be interested in learning more - will Spaceport Cornwall have the facilities for integrating the satellite and launcher, and the telemetry and telecommand to monitor and control the launch?
 
I take your point.

I assume that the launch aircraft will take off from Newquay, but it is not quite the same as a rocket blasting off from a launch pad. Nonetheless I would be interested in learning more - will Spaceport Cornwall have the facilities for integrating the satellite and launcher, and the telemetry and telecommand to monitor and control the launch?
AFAIK, the launch vehicle comes as a single unit, so the payload and fuel are the only things that need adding on site. VO's telemetry is mostly via SATCOM so could be anywhere.
 

Yokel

LE
AFAIK, the launch vehicle comes as a single unit, so the payload and fuel are the only things that need adding on site. VO's telemetry is mostly via SATCOM so could be anywhere.

Integrating the payload will be a major task requiring specialist facilities and skills. There will also need to be a control centre for the launch - which would normally be located at the launch site. Does the company have any cool videos?

What sort of fuel (and oxidiser) will it need?
 
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Integrating the payload will be a major task requiring specialist facilities and skills. There will also need to be a control centre for the launch - which would normally be located at the launch site. Dos the company have any cool videos?

What sort of fuel (and oxidiser) will it need?
I am only peripherally involved on the ATC side but I know there's a lot of LOx required.
 

Yokel

LE
Did you know that the UK has a Satellite Applications Catapult?

About Us

The Satellite Applications Catapult is at the heart of the satellite services revolution, driving take-up of space technology and applications to shape, and sustain, the world of tomorrow. We’re driven by how our actions help the organisations we work with, both large and small, bring new services to market. By connecting industry and academia we get new research off the ground and into the market more quickly.

 

Yokel

LE
More conventional launches are part of Britain's future in space.

Lockheed Martin works with specialist cleanroom lifting company

British manufacturer and supplier of commercially off the shelf and bespoke lifting and handling equipment, Hoist UK, has joined forces with aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin.

The new collaboration was to create a bespoke lifting and handling solution for processing within a Satellite Integration Laboratory (SIL) in Harwell, Oxfordshire for the UK's vertical launch space programme.

This innovative project has resulted in the lifting and manoeuvring of a small spacecraft in a final stage condition before heading to launch from UK soils.
 

Yokel

LE
Edinburgh-based rocket firm Skyrora accelerating ambitions with hire of former SpaceX exec - The Scotsman

Skyrora said his arrival comes as it seeks to conduct 16 launches a year from the Saxavord launch complex in Shetland alone by 2030.

He said: “With Skyrora leading the way in UK launch and building infrastructure for the future of the UK’s space economy, it’s an exciting time to join the company. Currently, the UK is completely reliant on the US and, although this is a crucial relationship, Skyrora is building towards a future when space capabilities in this country will allow for regular sovereign launches.

“Space capability is now critical to providing an edge when it comes to defence. Skyrora’s mobile, agile and responsive launch and on-orbit capability can provide the UK with something it has been missing and bolster its special relationship with the US,” he added, also flagging the firm’s “responsible and sustainable attitude towards spaceflight”.

Skyrora founder and chief executive Volodymyr Levykin said: “We’re delighted that Lee has joined Skyrora and offering his unparalleled leadership and expertise to the team as we continue to hit crucial milestones in our push towards a maiden launch from UK soil.”
 

Yokel

LE
Combining commercial space with national security needs - UK Defence Journal

Headlines often focus on the government’s ambition to have the first orbital launch from European soil, but it is the partnerships with the UK’s flourishing commercial space companies that will net the biggest national security returns for a reasonable investment. Having the capacity to launch national security payloads from your own territory brings the advantage of being able to do so rapidly, but this should chiefly be understood through the lens of deepening cooperation between public and private interests in the space domain.

Being able to gather and disseminate information in a modern conflict, as well as the rapid reaction capability to stay ahead of hostile disruption, will be essential to commanding UK forces away from home. Russia launched its invasion with a targeted hack of Viasat, an American company that provides satellite internet services throughout Eastern Europe, that was designed to cripple Ukraine’s ability to communicate with its frontline soldiers. GCHQ should partner, where appropriate, with the UK’s many cyber-focused space companies and their products – be it harder to crack software or nearly impossible to intercept hardware like laser communications.
 

Yokel

LE
Out of historical interest, does anyone know much about the proposed HOTOL project?

Was it initiated by Government or industry? Was it intended to be a satellite launch platform or something else? Would it have been able to launch satellites in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, or merely lower orbits? Was there any predicted cost per vehicle, or per launch? Did it have any connection to things such as Skynet, or was it hoped to get some of the commercial satellite launch market?
 

Yokel

LE
I have found this video about HOTOL:



I have often wondered if HM Government should have simply offered a prize of so many millions to the first orbital launch from the UK or by a British vehicle, and let groups of universities and industrial consortia get on with things. Obviously the competition would need to have rules for safety and security.
 
Out of historical interest, does anyone know much about the proposed HOTOL project?
I see you have since found a video but I took a keen interest at the time so I'll have a pop from what I remember.

Was it initiated by Government or industry?
Industry and arguably stymied by government by putting some of the tech on the SECRET list

Was it intended to be a satellite launch platform or something else?
Primarily satellite launch but there was talk of being able to carry pax to orbit although it would be as self loading cargo as the beast itself would have been uncrewed. The cargo bay could have encompassed something like a tuna can shape so they would have had to ride in something like that.

Would it have been able to launch satellites in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, or merely lower orbits?
ISTR talk of a proposed "space tug" that would have fitted in the cargo bay. OTOH the shuttle was used to launch satellite/booster combos that could reach higher orbits. Its cargo bay was arguably a more ameanable shape,

Was there any predicted cost per vehicle, or per launch?
Dunno but definitely lower than other options at the time. That was definitely based on cracking all the problems and getting into volume launches, there was no suggestion otherwise.

Did it have any connection to things such as Skynet, or was it hoped to get some of the commercial satellite launch market?
I think some Skynet satellites were already up so maybe future launches but not the then current ones.
 
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Yokel

LE
I see you have since found a video but I took a keen interest at the time so I'll have a pop from what I remember.


Industry and arguably stymied by government by putting some of the tech on the SECRET list


Primarily satellite launch but there was talk of being able to carry pax to orbit although it would be as self loading cargo as the beast itself would have been uncrewed. The cargo bay could have encompassed something like a tuna can shape so they would have had to ride in something like that.


ISTR talk of a proposed "space tug" that would have fitted in the cargo bay. OTOH the shuttle was used to launch satellite/booster combos that could reach higher orbits. Its cargo bay was arguably a more ameanable shape,


Dunno but definitely lower than other options at the time. That was definitely based on cracking all the problems and getting into volume launches, there was no suggestion otherwise.


I think some Skynet satellites were already up so maybe future launches but not the then current ones.

Thanks.

No Earth launched vehicle can launch directly into a Geostationary orbit, they can launch into lower orbits including a Geostationary Transfer Orbit. This is elliptical and not circular, so an apogee boost/kick motor is used to circularise the orbit. The Shuttle did pretty much the same but with a lower starting altitude from what I remember so it used some sort of upper stage as a space tug. I assume that HOTOL would have been similar.
 
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Yokel

LE
DMC AND SATELLITE APPLICATIONS CATAPULT LAUNCH PARTNERSHIP

The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC) and the Satellite Applications Catapult have partnered in a move that highlights an exciting future for the UK space industry. With the UK government aiming to capture 10 per cent of the sector by 2030, this new partnership marks an important development in establishing a national space supply chain for advanced manufacturing.

While the UK space sector currently generates around £16.5 billion per annum, providing 47,000 jobs across 1,293 different organisations, significant growth will be required to meet the government’s ambitious target. Notably, the development of a comprehensive and advanced supply chain is needed, specialising in high-performance composites and additive manufacturing (AM). The collaboration between DMC and the Catapult intends to kickstart these ambitions.

As one of the world’s leading commercial AM production facilities, the DMC is an active supplier to advanced industries including space, aerospace, defence, motorsport, automotive, energy, and Med Tech. The Catapult is a technology and innovation company that supports early-stage businesses with technical and commercial advice, and access to unique facilities and equipment. It brings together multi-disciplinary teams to generate solutions to some of the space industry’s greatest challenges.
 

Yokel

LE
I wish this was more local to me - gizzajob/I could do that/etc. Could our unimaginative mismanagerial classes have allowed this decades before? Would keeping a hand in the rocketry game have helped with other things, such as British industry getting a slice of the Ariane pie or the 1970 Chevaline project where were had to modify the front end of the Polaris missile that our nuclear deterrent depended on?

Skyrora opens the UK’s largest rocket manufacturing plant in Cumbernauld - MTD MFG

Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora has taken another stride towards achieving a sovereign orbital launch from British soil by opening a new manufacturing and production facility, the largest of its kind in the UK.

After recently opening its engine test facility in Midlothian, this new facility in Cumbernauld allows the company to concentrate its launch development practices in custom-built domestic facilities.

The production of two Skyrora vehicles has already commenced at the Cumbernauld site, which will increase to up to 16 per year once mass production begins. The site boasts unique capabilities for space infrastructure in the UK, as certain tests that would typically be outsourced to facilities in other countries can now be conducted domestically.

For the first time, the UK has an asset capable of conducting full-stage structural and pressure testing and full-stage functional and cold flow testing – conducting these domestically saves significant time and costs.

As such, the maiden testing of the second stage of the Skyrora XL rocket can now be performed, having been fully manufactured and assembled in-house. This includes the assembly of the 70kN engine, the most powerful commercially produced liquid engine in the UK, which has been built using 3D-printed engine components.

A critical milestone for the development of the Skyrora X – the hot fire testing – will see the second stage attached to a stand at the newly opened Midlothian test facility as the engine simulates a real launch.

This enables telemetry data to be collected and analysed on-site. As a three-stage launch vehicle, the second stage of Skyrora XL will start its engines at approximately 62km before releasing the third stage at around 190km for orbital launch.

The Skyrora Vehicle Assembly Building in Cumbernauld consists of 55,000 sq ft of factory floor and office space, along with a 67,000 sq ft yard large enough to contain the entire Skylark L launch complex and future Skyrora XL launch facilities, for rehearsals, integration works, and launch preparation.

Altogether, the facility roughly equates to the size of two standard football pitches and can accommodate up to 16 Skyrora XL vehicles for assembly, integration, and launch per annum.

The manufacturing and production site will generate new employment opportunities both in the North Lanarkshire area and in the rest of Scotland, boosting local economic prospects by accommodating up to 100 high-skilled technical and business roles.

Skyrora’s Head of Engineering, Dr Jack James Marlow, said: “This purpose-built manufacturing and assembly site, combined with the Midlothian testing facility, allows Skyrora to take direct charge of the development cycle in-house. As a business, we now have a full set of domestic facilities to allow for close control of the quality and rapid development and testing of Skyrora XL ahead of its demo launch.

“The site will also allow us to further optimise manufacturing processes developed by our colleagues in Ukraine and scale-up launch vehicle production in the long term, enabling further expansion and growth in the future.”

Skyrora’s readiness to enter mass production comes at a pivotal time in the UK space race, as the company endeavours to become the first British company to launch a rocket from UK soil with its orbital vehicle, Skyrora XL. By 2030, Skyrora aims to conduct 16 launches per year from Saxa Vord launch complex in the Shetland Islands alone.
 
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Yokel

LE
LaunchUK: the European leader in commercial small satellite launch

Foreword: Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive and Senior Responsible Owner for UK Spaceflight Programme, UK Space Agency

I have always been fascinated by humankind’s curiosity and capabilities in engineering, science and technology, and believe that the sky is never the limit. My interests have led me to look at how to use space for peaceful purposes, and to further our understanding of the world and universe. I’m lucky enough to have followed my passions and had a fascinating career associated with the engineering challenges of rocketry. Now, I have the honour and privilege to use what I know to help shape the UK to be the leading commercial small satellite launch destination in Europe.

As Deputy Chief Executive and Senior Responsible Owner for the UK Spaceflight Programme, I work alongside leading professionals from industry and governments to deliver the UK Space Agency’s role of catalysing investment into the UK space sector, delivering missions and capabilities and, importantly, championing the power of space to benefit our planet and its people.

The National Space Strategy clearly sets out our ambitions to build the UK as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world. Space presents significant opportunities, with the global space economy projected to grow from an estimated £270 billion in 2019 to £490 billion by 20301.

It’s inspiring to see industry and government working together to achieve this ambition, from developing modern technologies focusing on space debris removal and in-orbit servicing, to enabling launch from UK spaceports. The first UK launches will take place in 2022, servicing this global demand for commercial small satellite launch.

To enable these launches, UK Government has designed modern regulatory and licensing approaches to cater for new launch vehicles, such as Orbex’s Prime, Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One, ABL Space System’s RS1 and Syrora’s Skylark L and Skyrora XL. The regulations also allow for new missions for satellite owners and operators, and we are collaborating with international partners to open new commercial opportunities across the globe.

The UK is paving the way for the modern era of space and launch capabilities in Europe, and I can confidently say the excitement and anticipation is felt by all as we head towards the first launches this year. This evokes the same spirit of collective endeavour and teamwork from the pioneering days of UK heritage in launch and space systems engineering. We have a wealth of experience, skills, and peoplepower to deliver sector-leading satellite design and manufacturing, operation and utilisation of space data, making it the ideal location to support UK and global launch providers.

Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive and Senior Responsible Owner for UK Spaceflight Programme, UK Space Agency.
 

Yokel

LE
We should be proud of our high tech capabilities - Latest UK military satellite passes Critical Design Review

Airbus has achieved a key milestone with the successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) next secure military communications satellite, SKYNET 6A.

Richard Franklin, Airbus Defence and Space UK managing director, said: “Achieving this crucial milestone is tangible proof that in partnership with Defence Digital in the Ministry of Defence we are firmly on track and making great progress on this flagship programme.

“We now have more than 400 people working on the project at our key sites in Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn and are building SKYNET 6A with its unique military communications payload entirely in the UK. We currently have more than 45 small- to medium-size enterprises and sub-contractors helping to make sure we remain on target for launch in 2025.”

Airbus was awarded the SKYNET 6A contract in July 2020 to supplement the existing SKYNET 5 fleet of four satellites and enhance the UK’s ‘milsatcom’ capability. The SKYNET 6A CDR has been achieved on time, working closely with the Defence Digital team. The next major milestone will be the delivery of the Communications Structure by the end of 2022.

The SKYNET 6A contract covers the design, development, manufacture, assembly, integration, test and launch, of the military communications satellite, and includes key national technology development programmes.
 

Yokel

LE
Is this the right thread/forum for this?

Director of UK Space Strategy highlights UK space progress - The Manufacturer

Kathy Bass, Deputy Director of UK Space Strategy for BEIS, last week highlighted the UK’s recent space progress and reaffirmed plans for the UK to be the first in Europe to launch a satellite into orbit later this year.

Speaking at the Westcott Space Cluster Expo 2022, hosted by the Satellite Applications Catapult, Bass stated: “This year we are planning to be the first in Europe to launch a satellite into orbit which is a clear signal of the UK’s ambition and is a flagship for the government to show internationally what we are aiming for as a country.”

Bass provided a detailed update on UK space progress since the National Space Strategy last September, highlighting that over the next three years £1.7bn has been committed to the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the launch of the Defence Space Strategy in March which will see the MOD receive £1.4bn over the next decade, and the appointment of Lord David Willetts as the new chair of the UKSA.

An emphasis was also placed on raising the importance of space sustainability to the top of the international agenda as part of the UK’s aim to be a space leader.

Bass stated that large policy work is underway to further the development of UK government capability requirements, as well as new industrial policy to sit underneath the UK Space Strategy.

Regional space development was cited as key for the UK with Bass saying: “Levelling up and regional growth are an absolutely essential goal of the strategy, and we are aiming for a national space ecosystem with employment and broad benefits across the UK.”
 

Yokel

LE
Also from The Manufacturer - UK rocket firm Skyrora applies to CAA for space launch licence

Edinburgh-based Skyrora has submitted its application to the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to obtain the licence required for commercial spaceflight activities.

The launch operator licence will allow Skyrora to undertake its planned orbital launches in 2023, enabling the company to provide its technologies commercially and provide the UK with a competitive edge in the growing New Space industry.

The launch licence application is required by the CAA to ensure that operators meet regulatory requirements enacted by the UK’s Space Industry Act 2018 (SIA) and Space Industry Regulations 2021 (SIR). The process takes nine to 18 months and the CAA will assess the application.
 
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