SSC and Goonhilly to co-develop new space capabilities

Written by NTN staff

Goonhilly Earth Station and Shetland Space Centre have teamed to form a north-south partnership that will develop rocket launch and tracking business capabilities for the emerging new space launch sector.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing them to collaborate on a range of projects as the UK’s space sector gathers pace, driven by commercial enterprises and the private sector.

Projects include working together to support both Shetland’s and Cornwall’s aspirations (where Goonhilly is located) for both vertical and horizontal UK space launches. The companies aim to jointly promote and deliver launch, monitoring and tracking capabilities from the two sites at the opposite ends of the UK.

SSC is planning to construct a commercial rocket launch centre on the island of Unst and is developing a teleport and other space-related ground infrastructure, while Goonhilly will invest in and install a new highly capable tracking antenna on Unst. The two firms will also co-develop data centres in both Unst and Cornwall.

Frank Strang, chief executive of SSC, said: “As soon as we met the team from Goonhilly, we all recognised that there are potentially huge benefits from collaborating. We have a shared drive and determination to increase the footprint of the UK space industry, from launches on UK soil to a huge range of ground station activities.”

Ian Jones, chief executive of Goonhilly, added: “We’re really looking forward to working with the Shetland Space Centre team at this hugely exciting time in the development of UK launch activity.

"We’re already working with Spaceport Cornwall to support horizontal launch. Shetland is the obvious choice for supporting vertical launch – there’s infrastructure, data connectivity and transport links already in place, in addition to the vitally important clear air space towards polar and sun-synchronous orbits."