Prestwick Spaceport to launch with Astraius

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Prestwick Spaceport has this week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with newly announced launch partner Astraius.

C-17 cargo aircraft which will carry and launch the Astraius rocket

The commercially operated horizontal ‘air launch’ company will work alongside Prestwick Spaceport and its industry partners toward a goal of launching small satellites from 2023.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport will host the spaceport in collaboration with South Aryshire Council, which has received £80m funding as part of the Aryshire Growth Deal. It aims to respond to a growing demand from global satellite customers and act as a catalyst to stimulate economic activity in Prestwick’s growing space ecosystem.

Astraius’ solution, described as innovative and already proven, promises the ability for Prestwick Spaceport to perform multiple same-day launches when required. The company has a presence in both the UK and the US and is said to have agreements already in place with target customers. 

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Sir George Zambellas, Astraius’ chairman commented: “A revolution in space exploration and technology is underway. Satellites are transforming communication, knowledge sharing and helping to monitor the environment, whilst powering the global economy. 

“Astraius exists to provide a dependable, affordable and agile means of launching the world’s next generation of small satellites. In joining with Prestwick Spaceport, we now have the partner that will allow us to make this vision a reality.” 

The MoU was welcomed by UK and Scottish government representatives, with UK Space Agency CEO Ian Annett describing the partnership as a ‘sign of great confidence’ in Prestwick’s long-term vision.

Mick O’Connor, programme director at Prestwick Spaceport added: “Our launch partner announcement is the latest in a series of positive developments for the spaceport. With significant funding secured and state of the art aerospace capability on our doorstep, Prestwick is on the path to ensuring orbital launch from Europe becomes a reality.”