Prestwick Spaceport has welcomed two industry leading rocket businesses to work with Astraius, its launch service provider, as the site gears up for the first launch in 2024.
Astraius, the UK-based, horizontal launch company, has partnered with two new industry leaders and strategic suppliers, accelerating plans for the first satellite launch from Prestwick Spaceport from spring 2024.
Northrop Grumman has been selected as the first and second stage motor supplier, and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor. Northrop Grumman’s Orion solid rocket motors will boost the Astraius launch vehicle after its extraction from the unmodified C-17 carrier aircraft. Completing the mission, Exquadrum’s bespoke Astraius upper stage will precisely place satellites in their intended orbits.
Jobs and skills
Prestwick Spaceport will play an important role in the creation of up to 4,000 local aerospace and space jobs for Scotland and will help nurture and develop the skills needed to keep the UK at the forefront of what is a globally growing industry for years to come.
The new partnerships announced by Astraius moves Prestwick Spaceport one step closer to being fully operational as the team continues to build upon its offers. Situated adjacent to the airport, Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport is an 880acre site and 45,000m2 of office, warehouse and hangar space which will become home to many leading space industry companies over the coming years.
Mick O’Connor, programme director of Prestwick Spaceport, said: “This move is intrinsic in our plans to build a truly global space industry here in Prestwick. Collaborating with two heavyweight, industry leading companies to work alongside Astraius in developing our spaceport offerings shows real confidence and that we really mean business.
“This partnership will ensure that we are offering state-of-the-art launch capabilities which will drive investment and jobs into the area.
“We remain firmly on track to have the first launch ready for 2024 and the potential for this spaceport to completely reinvent the economies of both Ayrshire and Scotland.”
Exquisite rocket motor technology
Sir George Zambellas, Chairman of Astraius, said: “This is a hugely exciting moment for Astraius. We have a winning combination of proven launch and propulsion systems paired with exquisite rocket motor technology to produce a world-class capability. When coupled with Prestwick Spaceport’s state-of-the-art launch vehicle and payload integration facilities, Scotland will be the UK’s leader for responsive space launch.”
Ian Annett, deputy chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “It is great to see these exciting new collaborations and this major milestone towards horizontal launch at Prestwick Spaceport with Astraius. Scotland’s space sector is booming and this partnership demonstrates the growing launch market, which will create jobs and opportunities across the UK and attract international investment.”
Image caption (from left to right): Sir George Zambellas, Chairman of Astraius; Ian Annett, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency and Mick O’Connor, Programme Director of Prestwick Spaceport.