The head of Spaceport Cornwall is leaving her role at the end of the month, Cornwall Council has said.
Melissa Quinn has been part of the Spaceport project since it started in 2014, and became its head in 2021.
She oversaw the first ever space launch from UK soil in January, which ended in failure when the Virgin Orbit rocket suffered an “anomaly”.
She said: “I am leaving… at the start of an exciting new chapter, and I will be cheering it on from the side lines.”
Cornwall Council said: “Despite the satellites not reaching their final orbit, the Spaceport and Cornwall Airport Newquay teams flawlessly executed ground operations, justifying their achievement of being awarded the UK’s first spaceport license.
“Melissa has championed Cornwall on a global stage and helped developed partnerships locally in order to accelerate the growth of Cornwall’s space sector.”
Ms Quinn, originally from British Columbia in Canada, said: “I am incredibly proud of what my small, dedicated team, and I have achieved. Mostly, I am proud of our work with local young people, especially girls, inspiring them to get into STEAM careers.
“I want to say thank you to my team and our partners for helping to deliver our purpose of Space for Good, putting Cornwall on the world’s stage.”
Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Economy said: “I would like to thank Melissa personally for her dedication and leadership in making Spaceport Cornwall a reality – and in particular the way in which her work has inspired thousands of young people to understand that an amazing career in space is something they can achieve right here in Cornwall.”
Cornwall Council recently approved the Space Sector Development Strategy which sets out the future direction of the project over the next two years.
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