Launching the Future, Making the UK’s Space Ambitions a Reality

Notional image of the UK’s first commercial spaceport at the Sutherland Site in Melness, Scotland, which will conduct the UK’s first vertical, orbital rocket launch in the early 2020s. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)

There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the UK space economy – and Lockheed Martin is at the very forefront of helping to drive this agenda to the next level.

At Farnborough you can come and find out firsthand exactly what programmes we have underway, how we are helping to create the space workforce of the future and our initiatives to help make the next generation realise that a career in space is very much a reality.

Lockheed Martin in the UK is totally committed to growing the UK space sector, establishing the country as world leader in the global market and accelerating science and technology, all while focusing on how this delivers economic benefit across the nation.

These ambitious plans include delivering end-to-end onshore space systems capabilities – offering every stage of the process from ideation and concept all the way through to manufacturing and launch.

Recognising that none of this is possible without a skilled workforce, we are taking great strides to generate the talent we need by imbuing the next generation with a sense of excitement and possibility, through a range of STEM activities.  This includes initiatives like our Space Camps where last year we teamed up with satellite communications firm, Viasat, and ran camps in both Sunderland and London for students in years six and 12.

Here they were given the opportunity to find out more about space – from making rockets to listening to inspirational talks from people within the industry – to hopefully encourage them down this career path.

Nik Smith, Regional Director of Lockheed Martin Space UK, believes these kinds of experiences are crucial.

“We want to inspire and support students through their educational journey and broaden their understanding of what space really means to them,” he said.

“But what was most exciting about our space camps was the diversity of the young people who participated, with over 50% of the cohort being female; diversity of our workforce will be key to unlocking the potential of the UK space sector.”

Lockheed Martin is also at the forefront of one of the most exciting developments for the growth of space-related skills – NESST, the North East Space Skills and Technology Centre.

This £50m project being developed with Northumbria University and the UK Space Agency will be a purpose-built facility in the North East and will become a hub for world class space research and development.

It will be a place where leading academics can collaborate with cutting edge industry to make the future a reality, creating UK technology that will boost our space economy.

Nik Smith is passionate about the company’s commitment to “broadening the industry across the UK and in particular, in the North East.”

“This is so exciting for us.  We have found amazing partners in Northumbria University in Newcastle and the UK Space Agency who share the vision for the NESST,” he said.

“Working together, we will create a hub for the development of space technology and provide a range of opportunities to learn relevant skills to an area of the UK where it will have a significant and positive economic impact.  Not only we will create a game-changing facility, but as part of our £15M commitment to the project is a 10 year package of R&D that will have a long lasting impact ”

And that’s not all. Lockheed Martin’s partnership with the Government has led to a project with the UK Space Agency to conduct a vertical satellite launch from the UK, providing economic and security benefits. This is another example of how we are working with SMEs in the UK supply chain and endeavoring to grow the capabilities of smaller organisations, positioning them for future success.

The value of having a robust space economy cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to defending and protecting our country and its assets.

Space is an increasingly contested domain;  as some countries look to gain advantage in the domain, they are targeting the space systems that many nations relay on, including the UK.  The protection and resilience of future space systems has to be a priority.  Lockheed Martin is a world leader in the delivery of space protection capabilities and is partnering with many allied nations as they look to develop these systems.

Lockheed Martin is also at the forefront of ‘understanding’, both of the universe we will live in through programmes like Osiris-Rex, but also of the plant we will live on.  Our climate intelligence team are delivering the capabilities that will be critical to respond to the climate crisis.