Space planes could soon be taking off at Spaceport Cornwall after a Canadian aerospace company signed a lease to create a testing facility there.

Space Engine Systems will use the facility to test its Hello series of Mach 5 spaceplanes.

The company is developing a lightweight, reusable, multi-fuel propulsion system to maximise engine performance for hypersonic flight, and the facility will be used to test its horizontal take-off and landing vehicles.

The move will bring the next generation of propulsion technologies to the Duchy and will further cement the county’s position as a significant figure in the UK space and aerospace industry.

Space Engine Systems is on a mission to push the boundaries of sustainable hypersonic flight and space accessibility. 

The HELLO-1X demonstrator vehicle is designed to test Space Engine Systems’ hypersonic technology at scale.

The development of the HELLO-1 and HELLO-2 spaceplanes will enable the capability of point-to-point hypersonic and suborbital travel, and payload delivery to orbit.

2023 has been a busy year for Spaceport Cornwall, with the first launch in January and the opening of the Space Systems Operations Facility (SSOF) in April.

The agreement with Space Engine Systems follows Spaceport Cornwall having already secured a partnership with Sierra Space.

Pradeep Dass, President & CTO, Space Engine Systems: “We have been working on this joint partnership with Cornwall for quite some time. 

“It is the champions at Cornwall that have made this happen. 

“Space Engine Systems is developing the lightest, reusable, multi-fuel propulsion system, and reusable, horizontal take-off and landing vehicles. 

“These space planes will utilise both air-breathing and rocket propulsion during ascent then glide back to Earth. Our HELLO-1 and HELLO-2 space planes will be capable of point to point transportation, suborbital-return, and payload delivery to LEO at the lowest cost per kilogram. In addition to this, HELLO-2 will be capable of providing payload delivery to the lunar surface.” 

Ross Hulbert, Business Development Manager, Spaceport Cornwall: "We are really excited to welcome Pradeep and the Space Engine Systems team to Cornwall. The company is developing cutting edge technology and from the very first meeting displayed a determination to collaborate with what we are doing in Cornwall. We look forward to supporting their growth and celebrating their future success.”

Samantha O’Dwyer, Managing Director, Cornwall Airport Newquay: “We are delighted to welcome Space Engine Systems, a renowned leader in the field of aerospace technology, to Cornwall Airport Newquay.  

“Space Engine Systems’ decision to establish their presence at our airport marks a significant step forward in our efforts to create a commercially sustainable airport for Cornwall.  Space Engine Systems’ innovative solutions in space engineering align perfectly with our strategy of developing a destination for aerospace related businesses.”