// Orbital Access Limited to establish US operations hub at Cape Canaveral Spaceport

Washington DC, USA, 20th January 2017

Orbital Access Limited and Space Florida announced today that they have signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see the UK space services operator establish a principal operating base at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.   Orbital Access Limited is leading the development of a next generation small satellite launch system with support from the UK Space Agency to complement a portfolio of non-launch related space services to be delivered at horizontal launch spaceports, such as the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Announcing the signing Stuart McIntyre, CEO of Orbital Access said:

“We are delighted to partner with Space Florida and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport to establish a primary service hub for the US market at the iconic heart of the Space industry in Florida.  With the commercial market for small payload launch growing rapidly, the new breed of horizontal launch spaceports will become a key component in providing the access to space needed.  These spaceports will become a hub for space related services ranging from simple industrial communications flights, micro gravity parabolic flight services, specialist astronaut conditioning, suborbital flying and, ultimately, small payload launch operations.”

Speaking on behalf of Space Florida, Frank DiBello said:

“We are delighted to welcome Orbital Access Limited to Florida as a major broad capability global operator to locate at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).  Commercial spaceports are becoming the go-to place for the wide range of space related services and activities, and access to low Earth orbit.  As additional facilities develop around the world we are setting the operational template in Florida that will place us at the heart of the global spaceport system that is emerging.”

“Their selection of Florida for their payload services business reflects the deep space and aerospace industry heritage that exists in Florida and we look forward to the development of their wide range of services.”

Orbital Access Limited intends to base a fleet specialist aircraft at the SLF which will provide non-scheduled passenger services, parabolic micro gravity flight services and specialist charters. Additional services, such as simulator training and spaceflight participant conditioning, will be provided in conjunction with specialist providers in the USA. Horizontal take-off small payload launch services will be added once the development program, currently underway in the United Kingdom, is complete and operational permissions have been obtained.  The development program, the Future UK Small Payload Launcher (FSPLUK) project, is being taken forward by Orbital Access Limited with an industrial team of tier 1 UK aerospace and academic partners.


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    Notes for editors

    Image: Artists Impression – Orbital 500R launch system by Orbital Access Limited


    About Orbital Access Limited and the FSPLUK project team

    Orbital Access Limited

    Orbital Access Limited is a UK based launch systems and services business based at Prestwick Airport in Scotland.  It harnesses the Prestwick based whole aircraft design and manufacturing capability to develop and operate a series of small payload horizontal take off small payload systems.  Its initial launcher development is a disposable air launched two stage to orbit 500kg payload system.  Conscious that future technology evolution will fuel continued cost down pressure Orbital Access, through the FSPLUK project, aims to develop future launchers which will maintain the UK’s competitiveness in the long term.  Orbital Access leads the project as the principal commercialization and implementation partner.


    About Space Florida and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport

    About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s spaceport authority and aerospace development organization, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed.


    About Cape Canaveral Spaceport: The Cape Canaveral Spaceport, at which Space Florida has an operational spaceport authority role, is the premiere transportation hub for global space commerce.  Space Florida oversees management and operation of key elements of Florida’s existing space transportation capability including the Shuttle Landing Facility and Launch Complex 46.  Those Cape Canaveral Spaceport capabilities are enabled by safe and secure operations across a broad landscape of space activities.

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// Orbital Access Limited awarded UK Space Agency grant to define roadmap for Future UK Small Payload Launchers - FSPLUK

Farnborough, UK. Orbital Access Limited announced today that it has been awarded a £250,000 grant by the UK Space Agency to technically and commercially evaluate a roadmap for UK small space payload launchers. The project, coined FSPLUK, aims to define an initial commercially viable launch system able to be brought to service by 2020 leading to a fully re-usable system for services to start in 2030. The project focusses on horizontal take-off launch systems to exploit the UK’s forthcoming spaceport.

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    The FSPLUK project team led by Orbital Access comprises BAE SYSTEMS, Reaction Engines, Fluid Gravity Engineering, the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, Surrey Satellite Technologies, Clyde Space and the STFC. Explaining the project Orbital Access CEO Stuart

    McIntyre said:

    “The UK possesses world leading aerospace design capabilities, the world’s leading future space propulsion technology and some of the most advanced space launch technology institutes. The project integrates these capabilities under Orbital Access’s commercial launch systems and services activity and with the needs and requirements of the UK’s leading small satellite manufacturers at the fore. The consortium therefore brings together the commercial and technical capabilities necessary to define commercially viable and technically effective systems.

    An important additional aspect of the project is to evaluate initial air test vehicles for the scalable SABRE engine technology and to establish how an effective, small commercial launch capability can be derived from these. This way we start to define the practical technical roadmap that will highlight potential near term launcher options, and ultimately lead into fully reusable vehicles such as Skylon.”

    Speaking on behalf of BAE SYSTEMS, Systems Regional Aircraft, Managing Director Sean McGovern said:

    “It is a natural next evolution for the UK aero design industry to start to focus on trans-atmospheric craft and integrating next generation propulsion systems and associated control systems into effective single stage to orbit vehicles.

    We are blessed with deep expertise in the UK industry and academia to resolve the many practical challenges associated with this.”

    Dr Nick Cox, Head of Space Technology Strategy said:

    “An important element in meeting the UK Space Agency’s strategic space sector growth objectives is the establishment of effective space launch capabilities to meet the needs of the UK’s indigenous payload designers and satellite industry. We are working to establish the UK as a primary commercial location for launch services to serve the global space industry.  An important part of this will be to fully engage expertise and heritage of the UK’s aerospace sector, very clearly evidenced in consortia such as this, to define our roadmap for the systems that will be pivotal in achieving this.

    We see in the FSPLUK consortium all the primary ingredients necessary to define this and we look forward to monitoring the progress of the study and receiving its recommendations.”

    The FSPLUK project will report in late autumn 2016.

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