Spaceport Cornwall moves closer to 2022 launch with £12m funding

Cornwall Council’s cabinet have agreed to fund the Spaceport Cornwall project with £12m, in addition to funds from the UK Space Agency, Virgin Orbit, and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.  

Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay is being developed for the horizontal launches of small satellites into orbit—the only of its kind in the UK. The main operator on the site will be Virgin Orbit, which will use a modified Boeing 747 jet to carry the LauncherOne system to propel small satellites into space. Three commercial launches per year are slated to begin in 2022, which will then rise to eight per year in 2026.

These new funds will undoubtedly go towards building the spaceport’s state-of-the-art infrastructure. A rocket and propulsion test facility, hangars, fuel handling depots, mission control, and a space gateway innovation centre are among the planned developments.

The spaceport will be the latest in a line of exciting projects in Aerohub, England’s only aerospace focused enterprise zone. Enterprise zones have the opportunity to attract investment, developments, and jobs through a combination of business rate discounts worth up to £275,000 over five years for each business in the zone, simplified planning procedures and super fast broadband links.

Rubb has previously worked in the Aerohub enterprise zone with Apple Aviation to design and build a large, bespoke MRO hangar. The facility measures 47m wide x 50m long, complete with a Megadoor measuring 43m wide x 14m at its highest point to provide access to the hangar.

Al Titterington, the Managing Director of Cornwall Airport Newquay had this to say about the project: “The speed and flexibility of the Rubb hangar construction has enabled the airport to develop new hangarage and respond quickly to a key customer’s requirements. This has been critical in order for business to be undertaken in a competitive marketplace and puts NQY firmly on the MRO map with the capability to attract airlines to the facility.”