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© lockheed martin Electronics Production | July 16, 2018

Scotland home to first commercial spaceport

The UK Space Agency has selected Lockheed Martin to help implement its vision for the UK Spaceflight Programme. The commercial spaceport - planned at the Sutherland Site in Melness (Scotland) - will conduct the UK’s first vertical, orbital rocket launch in the early 2020s.
"The countdown to the first orbital rocket launch from UK soil has officially begun," said Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin's UK Country Executive for Space. "The UK Government has stated its desire to grow the UK's space sector to ten percent of the global space economy by 2030. We are proud to be selected to help them achieve this goal. This initiative will not only spark advancements in science and innovation, it will create new opportunities for current and future UK-based suppliers to become part of the next space age."

The Lockheed Martin led team will support the development of a commercial spaceport at the Sutherland site in Melness, Scotland. The site aims to be the UK's first vertical orbital rocket launch site. Overall site development is being led by Scottish government economic and community development agency Highlands & Islands Enterprise, with Lockheed Martin providing strategic support and guidance.

Once it reaches orbit, the first rocket launched will release a Small Launch Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle (SL-OMV), built specifically by Moog in the UK for the UK Spaceflight Programme. This platform will carry up to six 6U CubeSats, which the vehicle can deploy at the most optimal times and positions for their respective missions. The team is currently taking requests from potential customers to fill its CubeSat manifest for this first launch, a press release states.

As part of the programme, Lockheed Martin teammate Orbital Micro Systems will create and fly a UK-built pathfinder test to validate the performance of the SL-OMV and ground system. The pathfinder aims to lay the ground work for planned satellite constellations that are designed to deliver low latency weather observation to commercial and government customers.

Lockheed Martin's team includes: Moog, Orbital Micro Systems, the University of Leicester, Surrey Satellite Technology, Satellite Applications Catapult, SCISYS, Lena Space, Reaction Engines and Netherlands Space Office.

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July 18 2018 5:55 pm V10.0.0-2