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Seaborne Launch - The Optimal Space Delivery Solution for the UK

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Seaborne Launch: a flexible and efficient solution for the UK to allow launches to all available trajectories

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A GoSpaceWatch Online Lecture via Zoom

Abstract: The ambition of the UK Government to establish a small satellite launch capability in country is well documented and the approach to date has identified 7 potential sites for development and support, depending on demonstration of business case. All of the sites have one thing in common: they are all land-based, which creates operational limitations, owing to geographical and weather- related challenges.

To maximise returns and minimise overheads, any business must have as much control over their operating conditions as possible, and for an operator flying through a fixed launch site in an area with unpredictable weather patterns, this is very difficult to achieve.

The seaborne launch option (spacefleet) offers a flexible and efficient solution to allow launches to all available trajectories, with a heightened mitigation for weather and increased responsiveness. As it utilises existing or established dockside infrastructure, there is no associated impact on protected land assets, or imposed hazard to environment, population, or property.

Myriad additional operational benefits are also clear, notably regarding personnel safety and security, and these are inherent to remote, self-contained and ultimately mobile launch facilities.

Black Arrow will develop the Horizon Spacefleet to provide cost-effective, responsive launch services to low earth orbits in a number of trajectories, offering greater flexibility and reliability, to all small satellite customers, from the UK.

The Speaker: Paul Williams is a career Engineer/Technologist, with 35 years’ experience in the European space industry, primarily in Chemical Propulsion and Business Development disciplines.

Paul became a Consultant Engineer in 1994, and has provided support in various capacities with great success and high regard, to many clients, including all the major European industrial contractors.

Paul founded Black Arrow Space Technologies Ltd in 2017 to provide a true sovereign launch capability to the UK market, in support of the myriad high performance satellite and space companies in the sector. Black Arrow will develop and manufacture space quality pressure vessels and structures, and, with a number of critical systems produced by international partners, will integrate them into launch vehicles for a reliable satellite delivery service, operating from a seaborne spacefleet, operating from a purpose-built dockside campus in South Wales.

Paul has been a Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) since 1993.


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Promoting Space Exploration and Astronomy to the General Public through lecture meetings and the bi-monthly CAPCOM Magazine. We have one Zoom online meeting per month and after lock-down one social gathering lecture meeting per month both with an expert speaker. We also have a free weekly Newsletter “GoSpaceWatch Weekly”. Please visit our website at gospacewatch.co.uk

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