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Space industry could add £1billion to Cornish economy

Space industry could add £1billion to Cornish economy

Published by Emma Carton at 8:49am 29th January 2020. (Updated at 8:58am 29th January 2020)

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

A new space strategy for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly sets out how the industry could add £1 billion in economic value to the Duchy.

The strategy has been drawn up for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (CIoS) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

It states: "By 2030, CIoS will be 'a leader in the national space programme by exploiting the physical, digital and intellectual assets in the CIoS and using satellite data to overcome local and global challenges' such as the impact of climate change.

"By 2030, 'space and data in CIoS will have contributed to an additional £1bn of economic value for CIoS through increased productivity, jobs and turnover, creating twice the average GVA/capita of £45k+'."

Spaceport Report

spaceport - virgin orbit
A new report claims the space industry could add £1billion to the Cornish economy


In order to achieve the aims the document says Cornwall will have to become the UK's "primary data communications and satellite operations centre for Government, commercial and academic-led exploration and deep space missions".

The main driver for this will be Spaceport Cornwall which is planned at Cornwall Airport Newquay and used as a horizontal launch site for small satellites.

Virgin Orbit is set to use Spaceport Cornwall as a launch site using its Launcher One system which uses adapted aeroplanes to launch satellites into space.

The space strategy document identifies four locations in Cornwall which will be key for the space industry.

These are Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall, Penryn university campus and the “distributed innovation cluster” around Falmouth, Redruth and Saltash.

CIoS LEP is looking to bring all the different elements together to ensure they are all working in tandem.

Virgin Orbit spaceport satellites
The strategy, drawn up by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, says the spaceport would be the main driver


The space strategy sets out short-term, medium-term and long-term goals for the space industry in Cornwall over the next 10 years to 2030.

These include the first launches from Spaceport Cornwall in 2021/22 and an aim to have more satellite launchers operating from the base including working with RAF St Mawgan to become the focus for Ministry of Defence space capability.

One of the medium-term goals is to "develop the space tourism offer and microgravity flight experience through the Aerospace Academy".

It also suggests a bid to have a Government space agency relocated to Cornwall.

And one of the long-term goals is for "Goonhilly Earth Station is the primary operations centre for UK endeavours to Moon and Mars, for space resource mining and for supporting UK sovereign missions".

The CIoS LEP board will consider the space strategy when it meets on Wednesday (January 29th) and will be asked to endorse the document.

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