Insurance sector must keep abreast of ‘changing space industry’, says head of space

Broker giant Marsh has placed insurance for the very first space rocket launch from UK soil.

In an announcement today (23 November 2022), the broker said it had arranged the insurance on behalf of Space Forge for the launch that is expected to take off before the end of this year.

Spaceport Cornwall will host the historic space launch after being granted an operating license from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority earlier this month – once final clearance is provided and weather allows the LauncherOne rocket will take off and launch nine satellites into orbit.

Welsh startup Space Forge’s Forgestar-0 prototype will be among the satellites launched and has been designed to act as a “space factory” that can return to Earth.

Joshua Western, Space Forge’s chief executive, explained: “We are building the world’s first fully returnable and re-launchable satellite platform – the ForgeStar – to create materials in space that are impossible to manufacture on Earth.”

The policy covers risk of loss to the Forgestar payload and was placed with Beazley.

Truly historic

Commenting on the placement, Neil Stevens, the senior vice president of Marsh Specialty’s aviation and space division, said: “This is a truly historic moment for the UK, as both the ambition and capability to launch satellites into space becomes a reality.

“Insurance is a vital consideration for any mission which contemplates commercial space activity – Marsh is proud to work with Space Forge on this landmark project, which will take us all a step closer to in-space manufacturing.”

Beazley’s head of space Denis Bensoussan added: “In recent years, new space ventures have emerged as the fulcrum of innovation, investment and growth and insuring the first orbital launch from UK soil carrying Space Forge’s first satellite is something we are natural very proud of.

“This changing space industry requires different insurance solutions and we need to keep thinking ahead and innovating to enable and support its development.”