Spaceport Cornwall began in 2014, when the UK Space Agency shortlisted Cornwall Airport Newquay as a potential launch location for satellites. Whilst the UK builds a large majority of the world’s small satellites, we currently ship them all overseas to launch, costing UK business time and money, and costing the environment with all that shipping.
By enhancing our existing airport, and working with partners at Virgin Orbit and Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall will launch from the UK, for the first time ever, in early 2022. Cornwall is going to space. The next chapter in our pioneering heritage is about to begin.
However, what excites our team most about space is what it can do for us on Earth. Every single day we use space in some way or another. From getting money out of an ATM, to using satnav to avoid traffic, to monitoring plastic in our seas to rotating crops more efficiently, space benefits all of our daily lives. Humans are increasingly hungry for more of this technology and are demanding better access to it. This is where Spaceport comes in, providing better access to space to get these technologies where they need to be.
While Cornwall launching to space is incredibly exciting, the real value of this Spaceport is inspiring the next generation into STEM, raising aspirations in our communities, and creating high-value economic opportunities in a pioneering industry. But we, as a team, will only be satisfied if we realise these benefits by launching responsibly and sustainably. Spaceport Cornwall will be the first Spaceport to have a fully transparent Carbon Impact Report, a Sustainability Action Plan and Ethical Framework. We want to lead, globally, in responsible launch, and challenge other Spaceports to do the same. We want to ensure Cornwall is proud of its activities on Earth and in Space.
Melissa Thorpe is Interim Head of Spaceport Cornwall.