Spirit AeroSystems, Astraius partner for Prestwick Spaceport launch capabilities
Pictured above – during a visit to the Spaceport by Scottish Government Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism, and Enterprise Ivan McKee – the companies formalised the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a signing ceremony.
Prestwick Spaceport is a joint partnership between Glasgow Prestwick Airport and South Ayrshire Council. It will support carrying small satellites into orbit via horizontal launch, or “air launch”, using aircraft that fly out over the Atlantic ocean.
Prestwick secured Astraius as a launch partner back in September 2021, with it promising to provide state of the art launch facilities.
Astraius’ horizontal launch system uses a C-17 transport aircraft, involving a delivery platform that removes reliance on individually modified aircraft, to increases responsiveness. The company is targeting the growing demand for payloads designed to carry out a variety of tasks from orbit, such as monitoring climate change and supporting disaster relief efforts.
Spirit is a manufacturer of aerostructures for aircraft, with expertise in aluminium and advanced composite manufacturing. Its core products include fuselages, integrated wings and wing components, pylons, and nacelles.
“This MoU is the first step in what I’m confident will be a long-term partnership with Spirit AeroSystems,” said Astraius CEO Kevin Seymour. “Spirit’s advanced manufacturing expertise and world-class facilities can significantly bolster our development roadmap, bringing together UK engineering excellence with proven horizontal launch technology.”
Both the companies are in Prestwick’s space cluster, which lays claim to being Scotland’s largest aerospace cluster. Located near Glasgow, it is planning to start satellite launches in 2023 and has secured multi-million-pound funding through an Ayrshire Growth Deal.
“Spirit is well-positioned to develop new skills and technologies to contribute to the U.K.’s resilience and supply chain in the space sector and support high-value manufacturing regional hubs,” said Scott McLarty, the Spirit Senior AeroSystems Vice President, Airbus and Regional/Business Jet Programs.
“We are delighted to be working with Astraius to explore opportunities to contribute further to the expansion of the U.K. Space Sector, through the design, manufacturing, integration and testing of aerostructures for launch activities.”
Pictured above are Sam Marnick, Scott McLarty, Minister Ivan McKee, Kevin Seymour and Sir George Zambellas.
See also: Prestwick Spaceport launches educational campaign about space sector jobs