[SatNews] Plans for Britain to be home of Europe’s first spaceport have now moved a step closer to fruition.
Publishing the outcome of a three month consultation with a range of interested parties, the government confirmed widespread support for its plans. This paves the way towards making commercial spaceflight operations in the UK a reality. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shortlisted a number of possible locations for the spaceport in July 2014 and this has today been updated. The shortlisted sites are now Campbeltown, Glasgow Prestwick and Stornoway in Scotland, as well as Newquay in England and Llanbedr in Wales. RAF Leuchars was also confirmed as a potential temporary facility.
The government has ruled out two airfields at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks for operational reasons, given their vital role in Defence. Other locations can still be submitted if operators believe they can fulfill the requirements.
Aviation minister Robert Goodwill said, "I want Britain to lead the way in commercial spaceflight. Establishing a spaceport will ensure we are at the forefront of this exciting new technology."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said,"Paving the way for a national spaceport is one of our biggest science achievements in this parliament. It greatly underscores the work of our space innovation and growth strategy to position the UK as a world-leader in this exciting arena that is expected to be worth up to £400 billion a year to the global economy by 2030. Launching satellites and operating commercial space flights from our shores was once only confined to the depths of science fiction, but with the results of this consultation we are one step closer to making this a very real ability in the near future."
The next step is for the DfT to develop a detailed technical specification of spaceport requirements, prior to inviting proposals. This is due to be published later this year.