Space launch UK
The UK is a world leader in the development of small- and micro-satellites. To support growth in this industry, the Government has committed to enable low-cost space launch from the UK by 2021.
Space launch from the UK will involve organisations such as spaceport operators, space launch operators and range operators. Each of these will use different equipment and have slightly different spectrum needs.
Ofcom must authorise any civil use of spectrum and we are currently talking to those in the space launch sector to find out what they need.
To date, eight sites have expressed an interest in developing commercial spaceports in the UK.
Some spaceports are looking to operate traditional vertical launch services from green field sites; others will operate horizontal space launch services from existing airports. In addition, spaceports use range control services to assure safe UK spaceflight.
We believe our existing licences and authorisation schemes should cover the spectrum requirements for most of the activities required for space launch.
However, there might be certain equipment that is not covered by our current licences.
The following links provide information on the licences that Ofcom currently offers.
If you require access to spectrum that is not listed below or currently authorised through Ofcom, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spectrum licences for spaceports and ranges:
- Aeronautical licences (eg. weather radar, air traffic control radar, ADS-B)
- Business Radio licences (eg. security and site operation)
- Earth Station Licences (eg. communications links)
- Maritime licences (eg. tracking radars, AIS receivers)
- Programme Making & Special Events Licensing (Media)
For any tests or launches occurring before 1 January 2021, use Ofcom’s innovation & trials licensing portal. Processing these applications may take slightly longer than the normal six-week turnaround.
Contact us on the email above if you plan to use foreign-flagged aircraft or ships as part of your space launch.
We recommend that each spaceport has a designated spectrum advisor who is responsible for obtaining the necessary spectrum authorisations for the spaceport as well as its launch operators and range operators.
[last updated date]
- We are currently considering how to authorise radio use onboard rockets.
- We are gathering information on the spectrum requirements for range control services.