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About Discover Space UK

Background

Discover Space UK (DSUK) at Machrihanish Airbase is a joint venture with the local community, whose primary objective is the advancement of UK Research & Development skills and capabilities in spaceflight technologies and operations.

 

Our mission starts with universities, researchers and students.

DSUK's vision is to provide unique space access services outside of traditional orbital launch to complete the UK’s national spaceflight infrastructure. The company's formation allows the realisation of the full potential of spaceflight possibilities at the site and to provide complementary services to those provided by other UK spaceports, particularly inspiring and training a generation of space specialists.

Key priorities for DSUK are to leverage the social and economic benefits of spaceflight to the UK and areas around launch sites, increase uptake of relevant academic study and provide practical skills for the space industry. In addition to establishing and organising the “Mach” series of launch competitions, DSUK also work with university rocketry societies, supporting their ambitions with experienced launch operation.

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The History

The site is owned by Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC), from the Ministry of Defence on 11 May 2012. It is supported by Highlands & Island Enterprise, the Scottish Government, and Argyll & Bute Council. The former RAF and NATO site previously housed 2,000 military personnel; the infrastructure remains on-site to support extensive operations.

Boasting 1,000 acres of opportunity, the site also offers unlimited development potential and a unique range of buildings.

The Site

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There are two daily flights operated by Loganair which means there is limited air traffic for our site and unrivalled available airspace. There is massive on-site infrastructure and significant development potential.

On-site we have three jet fuel storage installations (JFSIs) which have a total capacity of 6.25 million litres. The terminal is fed by the ocean via an underground pipeline that runs from Campbeltown. The site offers an excellent facility for the storage of fuel and hazardous materials.

Using our unique location, we provide space access services outside of traditional orbital launches in line with the UK’s national spaceflight infrastructure.

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The Surrounding Area

Situated at the Southern end of the Kintyre peninsula and surrounded by coastline, the location enjoys some of the world’s most spectacular scenery. Away from any major population centres. The area is a haven for tourists with two world-class golf courses and a strong whisky heritage. Driven by a supportive community the site is now home to almost 50 thriving businesses.

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