Canadian Spaceplane Maker Suggests It Might Achieve a Successful Launch from UK Soil

The Hello spaceplane will be powered by air-breathing engines 8 photos
Photo: Space Engine Systems
SES Turbo-Ram Jet Assembly FacilitySexbomb Space DroneHello-2 SpaceplaneHello-1 and Hello-2 SpaceplanesSexbomb Space DroneHello SpaceplaneSexbomb Space Drone
Even though the recent failure of the Virgin Orbit space launch was a huge disappointment for many, the dream of regular, successful launches from UK soil lives on. However, with the space launch industry expanding so rapidly, it’s hard to predict who will actually be the one to achieve this. One of the contenders has already moved its spaceplane demonstrator, infamously known as Sexbomb, to the Cornwall spaceport.
The Canada-based Space Engine Systems announced in the Fall of 2022 that it was planning to move its spaceplane demonstrator all the way to the Cornwall Spaceport in the UK, after initial plans for conducting the tests in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

It seems that the Sexbomb hypersonic drone is currently being moved at the new location, while Space Engine Systems UK is working on obtaining CAA (UK’s Civil Aviation Authority) licensing for future launches. Although the process is still in its early stages, the company is hinting at the possibility of becoming the first one to successfully launch from British soil, due to what it claims to be “an aggressive plan for launch.”

Even though the Sexbomb demonstrator still needs to settle in its new home before it can kick off testing, the company is already taking orders for future payloads that will be carried by its Hello-1 and Hello-2 spaceplanes. The first one is a suborbital cargo and crew transporter, with a 550 kg (1,212 lbs) payload, while the Hello-2 boasts a much bigger payload for the same destination (5,500 kg/12,125 lbs) and the ability to transport 760 kg (1,675 lbs) of cargo to the moon.

What makes these space vehicles stand out is the claim of a very low cost for space transportation, mainly thanks to the manufacturer’s air breathing engines. These engines are supposed to be more efficient through the earth's atmosphere than rocket engines. Plus, the SES spaceplanes can allegedly land at any airport, meaning that they’re reusable. This is important for the ability to carry out multiple flights per month.

While waiting for the approval from UK space authorities, the ambitious company seems closer to launching a different demonstrator from the US. It claims that the Hello-1 X demonstrator is set to launch this year, with the Hello-2 launch coming up in two years.

In any case, the cooperation with SES sounds like good news for Cornwall. The first official spaceport in the UK following the pioneering regulations introduced in 2021, Cornwall is ready to welcome other players in the industry who plan to deliver cargo into space, despite the Virgin Orbit failure. The UK has been gearing up for a few years now to become one of the major space players in the world, and attracting various operators to its current and future spaceports is a big part of that.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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