Air Launch Company Sets Up in Glasgow

Orbital Access DC-10 air launch system. (Credit: Orbital Access)
Orbital Access DC-10 air launch system. (Credit: Orbital Access)

A space plane design and operating startup has set up operations at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Scotland.

Orbital Access Ltd has been established by Stuart McIntyre, grandson of David McIntyre, the founder of Scottish Aviation, and is backed by Scottish Enterprise….

Mr McIntyre said: “While a spaceport in the UK is a key piece of required infrastructure it will be of marginal value if we do not also have the industrial and technical launch systems in the UK capable of exploiting it.”

“The industrial, economic and employment dividend from the spaceport cannot be realised if all we do is host occasional US designed, built and operated systems. We have an aerospace and space industry with an enormous legacy of capability.”

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  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    If folks came to me to look into my crystal ball, I’d say the next development in space launch will be platforms at sea for launch, and recovery. While I love 3 hole airliners from the 70’s and they’re great work horses. Space X just invented the Naval launch and recovery technique that gives you just as much flexibility as air launch, with a recoverable booster to boot. If I had the investment capital to retrofit and modify a DC-10 or MD-11, I’d go to Space X and see if they’ll sell me a few Falcon cores to act as my launch force from old oil platforms. By the time you do a D check on a MD-11 or DC-10, then modify it to drop a launch vehicle, you’re already talking 10’s of millions of dollars.