Address to UK Space Conference 2019
Science Minister Chris Skidmore
24 September 2019
Back in June, I was delighted to announce that Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit will push forward with work to develop facilities to enable small satellite launch, thanks to a £20 million [$24.7 million] funding package from UKSA, but also Cornwall Council. This is in addition to the £31 million [$38.3 million] we have invested in vertical launch at Sutherland.
And today, we have announced an additional £1.3 million [$1.6 million] to be invested into planning for three potential spaceports around the UK. Firstly, we’ll be investing almost £500,000 [$617,894] in Snowdonia Aerospace, to develop a plan for a new centre for space R&D, training and satellite launch in North Wales, working in partnership with exciting companies like B2Space and Deimos. This will build on Snowdonia’s distinguished heritage in experimental flight testing.
I hope you will all agree that this Snowdonia Spaceport Development Plan marks an exciting leap forward for Wales’ role in space. It is something that we should be very proud of.
Secondly, we’ll be investing £488,000 [$603,065] for the spaceport cluster plan in Argyle, centred on an aerodrome with the longest runway in Scotland. It’s great to see that Reaction Engines, who I visited up in Culham, who are developing the innovative SABRE rocket engine, are also involved in that project.
And thirdly, we’re providing just over £300,000 [$370,737] to Cornwall Council for an Accelerated Business Development and Research Project at Spaceport Cornwall. This will support Cornwall’s ambition to be a centre for future flight technologies and follows the positive vote by the Council’s cabinet last week in support of their £12 million [$14.83 million] funding for the project. We all know the potential that investing in space technology for the future can bring the UK.