Prestwick Spaceport is “on track to become the continent’s leading space hub” as it steps up its marketing and operational efforts, whilst moving forward with launch partner discussions.
The coming weeks are expected to bring confirmation of its first partnership with a launch provider, which will see the Spaceport become its international base, with the first commercial rocket launches taking place from autumn 2023.
Prestwick has already secured an £80 multi-million pound funding boost for a variety of projects through the Ayrshire Growth Deal, backed by the Scottish and UK Governments and the three Ayrshire Councils, which is enabling it to undergo its highly ambitious space programme.
Prestwick is now setting out to create an unrivalled space supply-chain network, boosted by a location easily reached by road, rail, sea and air – and accessible to a vast talent pool.
Mick O’Connor, Programme Director of Prestwick Spaceport, said:
“Not only are we planning for spaceflight capability for 2023, but we are also building the commercial infrastructure to support it, as well as manufacturing and significant supply chain capability, all of which will build on Prestwick’s long established heritage within aerospace and aviation.
“As a result of our preferred launch solution we are not constrained by carrier aircraft availability due to fleet size, which gives us a level of in-built redundancy. It also means that we have the technical capability to conduct multiple launches in a single day if the market required it, which is unique not just in Scotland or the UK, but anywhere in the world.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP, who has long pressed for Prestwick to become Scotland and Europe’s main spaceport, said:
“As someone who sees Scottish space and aerospace as industries with massive potential and who consistently and repeatedly argued for Prestwick to be the spaceport of choice for a Scottish launch facility, I am really pleased to see these developments.
“Using space data to tackle climate and environmental challenges, the SNP Government will continue to work with Prestwick Spaceport and others in the sector to develop launch sites, grow manufacturing jobs and enhance data analytics capability, building on the support it has already provided.
“With five Scottish spaceports due to open over the next five years, Scotland is well placed to secure a significant share of the global space industry by 2030.”
The Spaceport capitalises on Prestwick’s unique combination of its existing airport infrastructure, latitude, over sea take off and prime meteorological conditions.
Now home to major engineering firms including BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Spirit AeroSystems, Woodward and Collins Aerospace, it is anticipated the investment will create more than 4000 new jobs while positioning Scotland as a key player in the industry.