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South Ayrshire Council has begun the process of submitting a formal planning application for the development of Prestwick Spaceport. Launches from the Prestwick site will use a method called horizontal or aerial launch, a process never seen before in Europe. This is where a plane carries a rocket containing small satellites a long distance at high altitude over the ocean.

Then, once safely past populated areas and above the densest layer of the atmosphere, the rocket leaves the aircraft, fires up its engines, and carries its payload into orbit.

Launch operations at Prestwick will use treatment rockets and their payloads.

The Proposed Notice of Application (POAN) is the first step in the planning process for Prestwick Spaceport and signals the intention to apply for planning permission in early 2022.

Councilor Peter Henderson, leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “Prestwick Spaceport has taken another step by filing a POAN for its development.

“NAOP is initiating the process for Prestwick Spaceport to submit its formal planning application later this year.

Britain sees major ‘milestone’ with plans to build another spaceport (Image: Getty)

rocket launch

The spaceport will be used to launch small satellites into orbit (Image: Getty)

“This follows Prestwick Spaceport securing a launch contractor, Astraius, in September last year.

“By securing a launch partner and beginning the planning process, South Ayrshire is well on its way to establishing Prestwick Spaceport and securing an exciting future for our local communities and ensuring that South Ayrshire is part of the economy. world space.”

Until now, horizontal launch capability was not available anywhere in Europe.

Prestwick Spaceport has signed a memorandum of understanding with Astraius, the UK-based leading commercial horizontal launch company.

Astraius will launch rockets from standard transport aircraft.

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a satellite

Small satellites can be used for many different uses (Image: Getty)

They require no modification and will be able to place small satellites, such as shoebox-sized CubeSats, in various orbits.

These small satellites can be used for many different purposes, such as monitoring climate change or tracking food supply chains to ensure that supermarket products come from sustainable sources.

The City of Glasgow already designs and manufactures more CubeSats than any city outside the United States.

A new spaceport that launches small satellites into orbit could be a huge boost for UK satellite network OneWeb – which has now moved its satellite production to the UK.
OneWeb is the second largest satellite operator in the world and is building an advanced satellite network to deliver internet worldwide.
It has been tipped as Britain’s rival to Galileo – a project that many smaller satellite companies left Britain after Brexit to continue to be a part of.

The UK was kicked out of the Galileo project after it left the bloc.

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Satellite network

New spaceport launching small satellites could give UK satellite network OneWeb a boost (Image: Getty)

Galileo also performs a function similar to what the OneWeb network could one day provide: accessible satellite data enabling positioning, navigation and timing.

But now that another spaceport is in the UK, perhaps the companies that left the UK could return to launch small satellites from Prestwick spaceport.

Prestwick is aiming to complete its first rocket launch by the end of 2023, a target backed by the Ayrshire Growth Deal, a multi-million pound funding scheme which was signed last year.

Up to £80m of the growth deal is dedicated to securing Ayrshire’s future as a leading region in the UK’s aerospace and space engineering industries.

Zoe Kilpatrick, Commercial Director of Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “We are delighted to see the next stage of Prestwick Spaceport under development.

“We are building an industry in Ayrshire that will create jobs and investment for years to come.

Zoe Kilpatrick

Zoe Kilpatrick, Commercial Director of Glasgow Prestwick Airport (Image: Prestwick Aerospace via Youtube)

“2022 will see new developments as we partner with more organizations to develop and expand our space capabilities here at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

“It’s a very exciting time to be involved with the project and I look forward to seeing the progress made over the coming months as we approach our first launch in 2023.”

Satellite launches from Prestwick, along with other Ayrshire Growth Deal measures, are expected to create many opportunities beyond the launch.

These include establishing a high-tech space supply chain in the region to complement the existing aerospace cluster.

It was also tipped to create up to 4,000 jobs for the local economy.

Prestwick Spaceport says “Horizontal launches from Prestwick will give Ayrshire the opportunity to be at the forefront of satellite launches not just in the UK but across Europe.”


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