Osprey leads industry consortium to review draft secondary legislation of the Space Industry Act 2018

On 29 July 2020, Osprey (a tpgroup company), welcomed the UK Government’s launch of its public consultation on three draft sets of regulations to implement the Space Industry Act 2018 (SIA 2018). This is the legislative framework that will underpin the UK’s commercial spaceflight ambitions. A key aspect of the framework will be the regulations governing the launch of space vehicles from the UK.

The regulatory framework is absolutely critical to bringing commercial spaceflight capabilities to the UK, therefore South Ayrshire Council commissioned Osprey, through Programme Managers, Gardiner & Theobald (G&T) to manage an expert consortium wide review of the draft secondary legislation to provide a coordinated response to the consultation and to inform them of the potential risks and opportunities that Prestwick Spaceport would face in complying with the proposed legislation.

Osprey Subject Matter Experts worked with experts from across industry including Ramboll, UKLSL and MOK Security Solutions Limited to develop a methodology to cover specific disciplines including Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Airspace Policy, Aerospace Safety, Risk Management, Human and Organisational Factors, Environmental, Horizontal Launch Services and Security. In answering the questions raised as part of the consultation, the consortium members were tasked to look for duplications in regulation and identify areas that could align with existing policies and processes.

From the review and subsequent analysis, several key themes were identified including the identification for the potential of spaceport safety regulations to complement existing regulatory frameworks such as those already established for aviation, as well as aligning with other high hazard industries, such as Oil and Gas and the existing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulatory frameworks. 

Prestwick Spaceport Programme Director, Mick O’Connor, said; “It’s crucial the UK spaceflight industry has fit for purpose regulation and Prestwick must play its part in shaping it, with the help of Osprey this was more than accomplished.”

Sandy Ingamells, Project Manager at Osprey added “Osprey’s cross-sector expertise was brought to bear during this study as we were able to draw on our knowledge and experience from other highly regulated major hazard industries. What really stood out was how well the consortium worked together as a team, which ensured the overall deliverable was so valuable. We believe that our response is unique in the market as we have collaborated with Subject Matter Experts from all disciplines in the framework to give the most constructive feedback to the draft regulations as possible.”

Osprey submitted the consolidated response to South Ayrshire Council for onward submission to the consultation in October 2020 and has since presented the key findings to the Spaceport Alliance and other key stakeholders. The consultation document states that most of the secondary legislation is expected to be in place by Q3 2021; we hope that the constructive way the review was conducted will help the Government to meet this timeline. We now await the next steps and look forward to working with our clients to progress their spaceflight ambitions.

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