Freeports: Satellite Launch Start-Up Eyes Job Creation

The presence of a Freeport in South Wales would serve as a hub for innovation and help drive job creation, according to the Chief Executive of a start-up developing spaceflight technologies designed to launch satellites into orbit.

Freeports are set to be created across the nation to help drive Britain’s post-Brexit growth.

The UK Government said it is working with the devolved administrations to seek to establish at least one Freeport in each nation of the UK.

Paul Williams is chief executive of Black Arrow Space Technologies, which is bringing forward a space launch programme from a seaborne platform.

With six active ports in South Wales, Williams said Neath Port Talbot had the best infrastructure for the purposes of his business.

A Freeport as an integrated part of a Port Talbot Space Cluster would benefit Black Arrow’s seaborne spaceport operation, attracting jobs and investment to the region and provide a substantial boost to the South Wales economy.  Paul Williams said Black Arrow will manufacture spaceflight components, notably pressure vessels and composite structures, in the region.

“We will bring in critical components and satellite payloads from Europe.  This will culminate in the development of a vertical launch system and seaborne spaceport, to launch our rockets from a ship, located in the Atlantic, off South West Ireland.”

He added: “The Black Arrow spaceport will be a major employer in the area and highly visible and proactive in the regional supply chain.  By operating within the confines of a Freeport, we will be able to bring in rocket and satellite parts for launch from the ship, without the need of burdensome paperwork to import and export these parts.”

“On return from the campaign, any remaining items will remain in the Spaceport/Freeport for later use, or transferred back to country of origin.  A Freeport will allow a free flow of goods through the spaceport, thereby reducing time and costs associated with protocols and regulatory customs practices.”

This article was published by Insider Media, 22 October 2020:

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