The British government is backing plans to create the UK’s
first – modern – rocket launching site. A Spaceflight Bill is likely to be
presented to parliament and grants could be available to successful
entrepreneurs and consortia to help get their concepts off the ground.
Science Minister Jo Johnson said the commercial spaceflight
market could be worth an estimated £25 billion (€25bn) over the next 20 years.
“Spaceflight offers the UK the opportunity to build on our strengths in
science, research and innovation,” he said. “It provides opportunities to
expand into new markets, creating highly-skilled jobs and boosting local
economies across the country. That is why it is one of the key pillars of our
Industrial Strategy. “We want to see the UK space sector flourish, that is why
we are laying the groundwork needed for business to be able to access this
lucrative global market.” There are a number of proposals already with plans to
develop airfields, generally in remote locations, but the government also
specifically mentions space tourism and even talks about airborne rocket
launching as an option for smaller satellites. Consortia will have to present
their ideas which must contain a practical launch site and its support
infrastructure. Grants are available of up to £10 million for relevant ideas.