The MILO Institute and Lockheed Martin sign deal that sees AeroSpace Cornwall deliver the UK's first-ever MILO Ambassador programme

Space exploration has demonstrated the ability to inspire people across socio-economic and geo-political boundaries to pursue learning and engage in entrepreneurial activities with economic impact. Making aerospace travel and delivery services affordable is an essential aspect of the modern-day aerospace industry. MILO's mission is to make space exploration affordable, accessible and inspire the next generation of aerospace engineers.  

The MILO Institute is a collective formed by Arizona State University, ASU has been at the forefront of space exploration since the 1960s with notable moments throughout their history being: Involvement with the Hubble Space Telescope since its inception, producing images recognised worldwide; NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor which carried a Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) designed by ASU planetary geologist Philip Christensen and ASU-designed Mini-TES instruments being used on Mars aboard each of the Mars Exploration Rovers. 

Lockheed Martin, which has supported MILO through its foundation, has been selected by NASA to provide payload delivery services to the moon as part of the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. 

Now Cornwall sees itself front and centre of the discussion. The region is already an innovative area for the UK Space industry, with Virgin Orbit looking to deliver the UK's first horizontal satellite launch from Cornwall Newquay Airport in 2022 and the recent opening of the Goonhilly Earth Station’s GHY-6 antenna for deep space communications. Through this all-new collaboration between AeroSpace Cornwall and the MILO Institute, Cornwall will access the institute's resources through the institute's Ambassador programme.  

This exciting partnership will accelerate technology maturation across the Cornwall Space Cluster. The established ecosystem, designed to mature new technologies and space science programmes, offers members of the Cornwall Space Cluster access to relevant expertise in satellite build, test, integration and operation. We are working with Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd to deliver the MILO Ambassador programme, focusing initially on the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region then expanding across the UK and the rest of the world. We hope to use the insights gained to accelerate regional economic development and create a commercially viable model for the UK's space sector to use to further develop the space economy in the UK.

The MILO Institute Ambassador programme is designed to provide members with access to a global network of mission, workforce development, and economic development opportunities. The Ambassador will facilitate interaction between government, university, and industry stakeholders within the member's region. The Ambassador will also advocate for the member community and connect stakeholders to global opportunities, including space programmes, R&D opportunities, and international collaborations. In this manner, the MILO Institute will connect the member community with a vast network of opportunities. 

The new MILO Ambassador is Major Chahal, who has established relationships with both the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency, as well as the UK’s Innovation ecosystem through the Catapult network. Major recently joined the new business development team at Goonhilly where he will be focusing on government and space agency growth opportunities. Goonhilly is a long-term partner with the MILO Institute. Both parties have the common goal of enabling more space exploration missions to achieve operational status. 

Major’s first area of focus will be to identify opportunities for the UK’s supply chain and academic partners to contribute to NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services programme, with launches planned to the near side of the moon in late 2023. 

Lindsay Papsidero, Lockheed Martin MILO Programme Manager: "Lockheed Martin is proud to support the MILO Institute as it brings compelling, affordable space science missions to the world. The association with the innovative Goonhilly Earth Station, Aerospace Cornwall and the new UK MILO Ambassador significantly extends the global reach of the MILO Institute." 

David Thomas, Executive Director of the MILO Institute: "Advancements in space science are accelerated when we are able to create interconnected networks on a global scale, where governments, universities, and companies are able to create and transfer value across a multi-faceted ecosystem. We are excited for the opportunity to work with Aerospace Cornwall and Goonhilly Earth Station, who are pioneers in the new space ecosystem." 

Gail Eastaugh, Director of Innovation, AeroSpace Cornwall: “Our aim is to develop the space and aerospace innovation ecosystem in Cornwall and so we are delighted to be funding the MILO Institute Ambassador programme. This will connect Cornish businesses and stakeholders to global opportunities in the space sector, helping develop a sustainable economy based on cutting edge technology”. 

Ian Jones, CEO of Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd: “This new contract to host the MILO Ambassador in Cornwall fits perfectly with our growth model. We can really leverage Major’s experience in the sector and this partnership with Aerospace Cornwall and the MILO Institute to assist other organisations to realise their ambitions in space.”