Space Engine Systems Comes Spaceport Cornwall

1st Jun 2023
Space Engine Systems Comes Spaceport Cornwall

Spaceport Cornwall welcomed Canada’s Space Engine Systems (SES) after signing a lease agreement for a testing facility. Even before the demise of launch partner Virgin Orbit, Spaceport Cornwall was diversifying both its clientele and its services, and SES is the next in line to utilise the site for testing their in development launch vehicles and propulsion systems.

Space Engine Systems Lease Agreement With Spaceport Cornwall

The lease agreement will see Space Engine Systems test a range of their propulsion systems and spacecraft. Credit: Spaceport Cornwall

In 2019, both Spaceport Cornwall and SES signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoA) which has climaxed to a finalised lease agreement. SES will now begin testing their propulsion systems and hypersonic spacecraft at the Newquay-based spaceport. This will include trialing the HELLO-1X, a demonstrator vehicle that is designed to test hypersonic technology, which will pave the way for SES’s HELLO-1 and HELLO-2 space planes. 

These space planes will have the capability of performing point-to-point hypersonic suborbital return travel and payload delivery to Earth’s lower orbit. According to Pradeep Dass, president and Chief Technical Officer at Space Engine Systems, both space planes will use, “air-breathing and rocket propulsion during ascent then glide back to Earth,” at the lowest cost per kilogram.

Who Are Space Engine Systems? 

SES are a Canadian aerospace company who have been developing their own reusable horizontal take-off and landing spacecraft. SES are also poised to deliver a lightweight, reusable, multi-fuel propulsion system that will be tested at Spaceport Cornwall. Their lightweight propulsion system will be looking to maximise engine performance for hypersonic and suborbital flight. 

Spaceport Cornwall is getting busy

It has been a busy year for Spaceport Cornwall as the launch site opened its Space Systems Operations Facility in April, 2023. Spaceport Cornwall also saw its first launch take place in January 2023, when a Virgin Orbit spacecraft took flight but its LauncherOne failed shortly after due to a fueling anomaly.

With an MoA signed with Sierra Space, a partnership entered with the Milo Institute, and the testing facility now confirmed with SES, Spaceport Cornwall is set to become one of the world’s busier spacecraft launch sites. Mr Dass said: “we have been working on this joint partnership with Cornwall for quite some time. It is the champions at Cornwall that have made this happen.” 

Ross Hulbert, business development manager at Spaceport Cornwall, added,

We are really excited to welcome Pradeep and the Space Engine Systems team to Cornwall. The company is developing cutting edge technology and from the very first meeting displayed a determination to collaborate with what we are doing in Cornwall. We look forward to supporting their growth and celebrating their future success.

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