OPPORTUNITY FOR PARTICIPATION IN UK GOVERNMENT GRANT-FUNDED SPACE LAUNCH PROGRAMME
An Exclusive Briefing to WEAF Members by Bristol Spaceplanes
Thursday 23rd March 2017, 1000-1300 – free to attend
WEAF Offices, Clevedon, BS21 6UP
In February 2017, the UK Government offered £2 Billion of matched funding for innovative technology with commercial prospects across a number of industry sectors. And within this, the UK Space Agency has just launched a Call for Proposals to provide a UK Satellite launch capability from UK Spaceports by 2020, for which successful proposals will attract Government grant funding.
This is an exciting prospect, showing that the acquisition of a UK space launch capability is being taken very seriously. Whilst the Call for Responses deadline is very short-notice, Bristol Spaceplanes believes that the WEAF Members have the full range of technical capabilities to develop and build a low earth orbit launch vehicle; and Cornwall has the excellent potential of a spaceport at Newquay, along with a mission control capability at Goonhilly. Accordingly, Bristol Spaceplanes would like to take this opportunity to invite supply chain companies to join the proposal team.
Bristol Spaceplanes has long maintained that the most cost-effective way of launching satellites and offering commercial low earth orbit flights is to use an aircraft which takes off and lands on a runway using low-risk, proven, conventional technology, and which would also employ only proven technology for the upper flight stage. The first step will be to build Microsonic, a small single-seat demonstrator rocket-powered aircraft to prove the concept. For this it will need the support of engine, structures, systems and sub-systems suppliers.
This has the potential to be a very exciting, high-visibility project which not only offers the opportunity for WEAF companies to participate with the help of Government funding, but would also provide them with commercial benefits from selling low-earth orbit experiments, space tourism and satellite launches. All this would be achievable for costs an order of magnitude less than current methods.
Not least, it would be a new, iconic project to inspire youngsters to take up STEM subjects; Bloodhound continues to serve us well, but we need additional new projects to complement its good work, and participating companies would get due recognition.
Whereas the winning of this Bid to UKSA is not guaranteed, Bristol Spaceplanes would continue to seek development funding aid from other existing schemes, for which support from partners and suppliers will still be required. The potential for matched funding is significant, as indicated in the following examples of potential GBER state aid intervention rates allowable:
|State Aid Category||SME||Medium
|Industrial research involving collaboration/dissemination||80%||75%||65%|
|Experimental Development projects involving collaboration/dissemination||60%||50%||40%|
Unit C, St David's Court