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Lockheed Martin UK looking to invest in new space-based manufacturing facility

Lockheed Martin UK eyes expansion in the northeast of England. (Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin UK is exploring options for a potential new GBP50 million (USD67 million) space-based facility in the northeast of England, the company announced on 1 March.

Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin's UK and Europe regional director for space informed Janes that the company is “looking for an operations base that could eventually be home to a potential new satellite manufacturing facility among other capabilities as well as a research and development hub, [which will] play a critical role in advancing the satellite technology on which we all increasingly depend”.

The future facility could develop and manufacture a range of space products and services, including satellites that monitor the Earth, connect troops on the battlefield, and deliver GPS services, Smith said.

The products made in the facility could be suitable for launch from the SaxaVord Spaceport, in addition to other proposed UK-based launch sites. However, the location for the facility is yet to be determined, he added.

In a separate announcement, Smith detailed that the future facility would represent an investment of over GBP50 million, helping accelerate the UK's National and Defence Space Strategies.

In July 2018 Lockheed Martin UK received GBP23.5 million (USD31.4 million) from the UK Space Agency to establish vertical launch operations in Sutherland, Scotland, in addition to developing innovative technologies in Reading. However, in October 2020 the company switched its satellite launch operations from Sutherland to Shetland Space Centre, now called SaxaVord Spaceport.

SaxaVord Spaceport received planning approval on 28 February.

Smith confirmed that they were planning to launch satellites from SaxaVord Spaceport this year.

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