UK wants rocket launch site

UK wants rocket launch site

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.

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