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British investments in space race ‘intensify’

A UK company that was the world’s first investor in space technology is preparing to list fund stocks on the London Stock Exchange.

The public will be able to invest in a portfolio of new private space companies through the fund.

Seraphim Capital’s new trust includes SpaceX from Elon Musk and Blue Origin from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The news comes amid a public consultation on establishing a national space strategy in the UK.

“There is a massive global appetite from investors, but the majority of new space companies are still private, from SpaceX to the bottom, so the public market is struggling to invest in the space sector,” Mark Boggett, Managing Director British venture capital firm Seraphim Capital. told the BBC.

“This is the first time that the public will be able to access a portfolio of private space companies,” he said.

Seraphim Capital, one of the world’s leading investors in space, is transferring all the assets of its existing fund to the Seraphim Space Investment Trust.

It is raising £ 150million to invest both in its existing business portfolio and in new space start-ups.

“A digital platform in the sky”

Mr. Boggett’s point of view is that space is no longer just about rockets or satellites. “This is a new digital platform in the sky,” he said.

In recent months, there has been increased interest in the satellite industry, with tech companies like SpaceX and London-based OneWeb launching small satellites – known as nanosats – into low Earth orbit.

The plan is to use large nanosatellite constellations to activate satellite internet, as well as collect Earth observation data such as weather, heat signatures and atmospheric gas composition to help farmers, for example, and to monitor items such as flood defenses, traffic and construction sites.

The idea is that nanosatellites will allow many small businesses to access space and benefit from space technologies.

“Make no mistake, this is an industrial space revolution,” said Will Whitehorn, chairman of the UKSpace industry group and chairman of the independent board of directors of the new Seraphim Space Investment Trust.

“UK space is heating up and it is also global. The UK has to be at the forefront if it is to prosper so that we are not left behind.”

Mr. Whitehorn was previously chairman of Virgin Galactic, which is battling Blue Origin to be the first company to offer human spaceflight.

Earlier this week, the Amazon founder said he and his brother would participate in the first human flight launched by Blue Origin.

Another key topic is the creation of space ports in the UK, says Whitehorn.

“This will give the country its own sovereign launch capability,” he said. “Instead of sending satellites to Russia, French Guiana or the United States, we can literally send them down the road to Cornwall.”

Daniel Smith is co-chair of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, an organization representing the views of industry, academia and government.

Mr Smith, who welcomes the announcement of Seraphim Trust’s stock listing, set up the UK Spaceports Alliance working group last year.

The group’s aim is to work with environmental groups to ensure the UK space industry thrives in a way that supports the government’s net zero carbon ambitions.

“The launch is the missing piece of the puzzle of the UK’s dynamic space value chain [and] Satellite data brings so many benefits to society and helps monitor climate change, but the process of reaching orbit must be continued in a way that contributes to net zero ambitions, “he said. .

“Our Sustainable Space Challenges initiative brought together environmental organizations and space stakeholders for the first time to work proactively to ensure the sector promotes a sustainable approach.”

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