UK Space Sector Created 3,000 Jobs in 1 Year

Credit: UK Space Agency

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The number of UK space jobs continued to grow into 2020, despite the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures released today.

Employment in the UK space sector hit 46,995 in 2020, up from 44,040 in 2019: an increase of 2,955 (6.7%).

Sector income increased in nominal terms from £16.4 billion to £16.5 billion, with exports counting for around a third (32%) of this total. Space manufacturing, including satellites, spacecraft, launch vehicles and scientific instruments, grew the most in real terms; up by £23 million to £2.27 billion.

In line with the UK Government’s commitment to increasing public and private R&D spending, investment in research and development saw a 19% boost to £836 million.

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UK Space Agency Gives Financial Boost to Space Clusters

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Ten space clusters across the UK have been given a boost, thanks to new UK Space Agency funding.

These regional hubs, known as space clusters, will support new and growing companies, building on local expertise and catalysing investment into the space sector.

Over £600,000 [US $812,267] will go towards supporting activities that create jobs and growth, including recruiting space cluster managers, to strengthen local space sector leadership groups and developing new business opportunities.

The funding comes as the Government is set to unveil its flagship Levelling Up White Paper later today (2 February 2022), setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

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Seraphim Investors in D-Orbit SPAC Announcement

LONDON (Seraphim Space Investment Trust PR) — Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (LSE: SSIT), the world’s first listed fund focused on Space Tech, is announcing today that its portfolio company D-Orbit S.p.A. (“D-Orbit”), an Italy-based and market leading space logistics and transportation company will, subject to a number of outstanding conditions, become publicly listed through a business combination with Breeze Holdings Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: BREZ), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (the “Proposed Transaction”).

Following the close of the Proposed Transaction, which is expected to occur in the second or third quarter of 2022, the combined entity would be listed on Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “DOBT” and would imply a post money Enterprise Value of approximately $1.28 billion.

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Seraphim Completes Investment in Arqit Quantum

LONDON (Seraphim Space PR) — Further to its announcement on 7 September 2021, Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (LSE: SSIT), the world’s first listed fund focused on Space Tech, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the holding of Arqit Quantum Inc. (“Arqit”) from the Seraphim Space LP ( ” Seraphim Space Fund “) .

As set out in the IPO prospectus, Seraphim Space will acquire four assets from the Seraphim Space Fund for newly issued ordinary shares in the Company. This acquisition represents the second of those transactions to complete.

Arqit is a leader in quantum encryption technology designed to eliminate the threat of cyber-attack and data theft. The business has a unique quantum encryption Platform-as-a-Service which makes the communications links of any networked device secure against current and future forms of attack – even from a quantum computer.  On 7 September, Arqit completed its proposed merger with Centricus Acquisition Corp. The combined company has been renamed Arqit Quantum Inc. and its shares have commenced trading on NASDAQ under the new ticker symbol “ARQQ” for Arqit common stock.

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Seraphim Space Investment Trust Raises £180 Million in Oversubscribed IPO

LONDON (Seraphim Capital PR) — Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc, a newly established closed-ended investment company which will invest in a diversified international portfolio of early and growth stage Space Tech businesses, is pleased to announce that it has successfully raised gross proceeds of approximately £178.4 million [US $247 million] pursuant to the Initial Issue of its ordinary shares (“Ordinary Shares”) as described in the prospectus published by the Company on 22 June 2021.

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Space Tourism Rewind: Branson & Richardson Announced Spaceport America Deal 15 Years Ago

Early Spaceport America artwork showed facilities built underground. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

New Mexico to spend $225 million
Commercial spaceflight set to begin in 2010
Virgin Galactic to fly 50,000 peassengers in 10 years

SANTE FE, NM, Dec. 14, 2005 (New Mexico Economic Development Department PR) — Governor Bill Richardson and Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Companies, today announced that Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial space tourism business, will locate its world headquarters and Mission Control in New Mexico. The agreement between the State of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic calls for New Mexico to build a $225 million spaceport in the southern part of the state, on 27- square miles of state land.

“This is a historic day for our great state, and particularly Southern New Mexico,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “With Virgin at the controls, enthusiasts from around the world will fly to space, routinely and safely, just a few years from now. And they will be flying from the world’s first purpose-built spaceport here in New Mexico. I am excited that New Mexico will be on the ground floor of this new industry, and I know this will mean new companies, more high-wage jobs and opportunities that will move our state’s economy forward.”

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UKSpace Praises Government’s Plan to Establish Space Command

BORDON, UK (UKspace PR) — Plans to establish the UK’s own Space Command will “further enhance coordination of the UK military and commercial space operations” according to space industry association UKspace.

During an announcement about increased UK defence spending over the next four years, the Prime Minister said that the new Space Command – which will be a joint services command of the Ministry of Defence, to be established at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base – will protect the UK’s interests in space and control the UK’s first satellite launched from a UK rocket by 2022.

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Former Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn Takes Over UKspace

Will Whitehorn gives a pat on the back to Richard Branson as he greets Virgin Galactic ticketholders during the Oshkosh air show in 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

DIDCOT, England (UKspace PR) – Space industry pioneer and entrepreneur, Will Whitehorn, today takes over from Andy Green as President of UKspace, the trade association which represents the UK space industry.

Will, who was formerly President of Virgin Galactic, played a central role in the development and concept of commercial spaceflight, and now holds several non-executive roles at companies including the Royal Air Force, Good Energy PLC, Stagecoach Group PLC, AAC Clyde Space and Scottish Event Campus Ltd. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was also awarded the 2010 Geoffrey Pardoe RAeS Space Award for services to the space industry.

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A Short Review of Virgin Galactic’s Long History

SpaceShipTwo fires its hybrid engine. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Today, Sept. 27, marks the 15th anniversary of Richard Branson announcing the launch of Virgin Galactic Airways. It’s been a long, winding road between that day and today, filled with many broken promises, missed deadlines, fatal accidents and a pair of spaceflights.

This year actually marks a double anniversary: it’s been 20 years since Branson registered the company and began searching for a vehicle the company could use to fly tourists into suborbital space.

Below is a timeline of the important events over that period.

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Richard Branson’s Latest Memoir Gets Lost in Space

SpaceShipTwo Enterprise after being released for its final flight on Oct. 31, 2014. (Credit: Virgin Galactic/NTSB)

Mogul’s Account of Virgin Galactic Most Revealing for What It Doesn’t Say

Part 1 of 3

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography
Richard Branson
Portfolio
Oct. 10, 2017
482 pages

One day in mid-2003, Virgin Atlantic pilot Alex Tai wandered into a hangar at Mojave Airport and discovered SpaceShipOne, a  suborbital rocket plane that Scaled Composites’ Founder Burt Rutan was secretly building to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first privately-built crewed vehicle to reach space twice in two weeks.

The chance discovery would eventually solve separate problems the famed aircraft designer and Tai’s boss, Richard Branson, were trying to solve. Rutan’s spaceship was being funded by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, who wanted to win the prize but had no plans to finance a commercial follow-on spacecraft.

Four years earlier, Branson had registered a new company named Virgin Galactic Airways and set off in search of someone to build a vehicle capable of carrying passengers into space. Those efforts had come to naught until Tai made his discovery at the dusty airport in California’s High Desert.

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Will Whitehorn Dissembles About Virgin Galactic’s Risk Management

Will Whitehorn gives a pat on the back to Richard Branson as he greets Virgin Galactic ticketholders during the Oshkosh air show in 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
Will Whitehorn gives a pat on the back to Richard Branson as he greets Virgin Galactic ticketholders during the Oshkosh air show in 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

This interview with Virgin Galactic’s first president, Will Whitehorn, sums up pretty much everything that went wrong with Virgin’s approach to safety as it relates SpaceShipTwo and human spaceflight.

It’s one thing to embrace risk and see it as necessary cost of innovation when you’re dealing with 747’s, passenger trains, cell phones and the myriad other ventures the Virgin Group has pursued. These are mature technologies; most of the technical risks have been ironed out. The main concern is the business will fail and Virgin would lose money.

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Clyde Space Boosts Management Team

Will Whitehorn, Jennifer Riddell-Dillet and Craig Clark. (Credit: Clyde Space)
Will Whitehorn, Jennifer Riddell-Dillet and Craig Clark. (Credit: Clyde Space)

GLASGOW (Clyde Space PR) — Clyde Space, the pioneering company which designed and manufactured Scotland’s first spacecraft, has announced two major appointments to its management team including the former President of Virgin Galactic.

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So Exactly How Safe Will SpaceShipTwo Be?

Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
Richard Branson rolls out Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Unity in Mojave. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Part 5 of 6

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the recent roll out of VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic marked a symbolic milestone in its recovery from the October 2014 accident that destroyed the first SpaceShipTwo and killed pilot Mike Alsbury.

Two questions loomed large over the celebrity-studded event. When will it fly? And how safe will it be when it does?

Company officials gave no timeline on the first question. Their answers about SpaceShipTwo’s safety differed significantly from previous claims they made over the last 11.5 years.

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NM & Virgin Galactic Announced Spaceport America Deal 10 Years Ago

Early Spaceport America artwork showed facilities built underground. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
Early Spaceport America artwork showed facilities built underground. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Space Tourism Flashback
10 Years Ago Today

SANTE FE, NM, Dec. 14, 2005 (New Mexico Economic Development Department PR) — Governor Bill Richardson and Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Companies, today announced that Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial space tourism business, will locate its world headquarters and Mission Control in New Mexico. The agreement between the State of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic calls for New Mexico to build a $225 million spaceport in the southern part of the state, on 27- square miles of state land.

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LauncherOne’s Long & Winding Road to Orbit: A Timeline

LauncherOne stage separation. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
LauncherOne stage separation. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

If the current schedule holds, Virgin Galactic’s revamped LauncherOne program will enter commercial service sometime in 2018 after roughly a decade of development. During that period, the program has been redefined several times, lost two of the key people hired to lead it, and changed its launch platform from WhiteKnightTwo to a jumbo jet. The estimates for the initial flight tests also have slipped by about  four years from 2013 to 2017.

Below is a timeline of the program’s major events, milestones, announcements, hires and departures, and other things. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything significant.

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