'Great British Space Age' will see rocket launches in three years, says government
18 July, 2018, 21:28
Business Secretary Greg Clarksaid: "The UK's thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites".
In a partnership due to be signed at the Farnborough International Airshow Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit is seeking to begin launches from Newquay by 2021, using a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft called "Cosmic Girl".
As part of the Space Industry Act announced earlier in the year, the United Kingdom will begin building its first vertical launch spaceport in northern Scotland, on the A'Mhoine Peninsula.
"We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here".
"Lockheed Martin will apply its 50 years of experience in small satellite engineering, launch services and ground operations, as well as a network of United Kingdom -based and global teammates, to deliver new technologies, new capabilities and new economic opportunities", said Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin's United Kingdom country executive for space. HIE will then work closely with space tech companies, like USA aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, to begin launching rockets.
Social media speculation suggested that plans to bring a launch site to Lamba Ness in Unst had hit a brick wall after the Sutherland bid was granted funding from the United Kingdom government.
Horizontal launch sites have significant potential in a future United Kingdom spaceflight market, which could attract companies from all over the world to invest in Britain.
"This will build on our global reputation for manufacturing small satellites and help the whole country capitalise on the huge potential of the commercial space age". "In addition, the UK Government is also making available a new £2 million fund to boost further horizontal launch spaceport sites across Britain - such as Glasgow Prestwick". The project should attract a large number of space tourists and could boost the UK's economy by almost £4bn, the government says, launching the £50m scheme.
One of those potential launch sites is Cornwall Airport Newquay in southwestern England.
"The worldwide space sector is on the rise, and we want to make sure that our region will be able to derive economic benefits thanks to this wonderful opportunity", said Charlotte Wright, Director General of the HIE.
Lamba Ness in Unst where Shetland Space Centre proposes to build a commercial satellite launch base.
The UK aims to build its first spaceport for launching satellites in Scotland, with the Government kick-starting the project by handing nearly £30m pounds in grants to companies including Lockheed Martin. "We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here".
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