Scotland could host the UK's first dedicated base for spaceplanes, according to new government plans.
Ministers want to establish the UK spaceport by 2018 - the first of its kind outside of the US.
Eight aerodromes have been shortlisted and Scotland has six of the potential locations.
The Scottish government said only independence would lead to a greater development of the country's space industry.
For ministers and the space industry, the major interest in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches, but hopefully it would also become a centre for the new tourism initiatives from specialist operators such as Virgin Galactic and XCor.
Ahead of the announcement at this week's Farnborough Airshow, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander hinted that Scotland could become a key player in the UK government's future plans for developing commercial space travel.
He said: "I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel.
"Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong's Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency's first satellite.
"The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future."
Britain plans to build commercial spaceport
Eight possible locations for spaceport will be announced by ministers at Farnborough air show on Tuesday
Britain is to build a commercial spaceport that will be used to launch manned missions and commercial satellites. A list of eight locations for the spaceport – which could be used by Virgin Galactic and the US company XCOR to launch space tourism flights – has been drawn up by the government and will be announced on Tuesday at the Farnborough air show.
It is planned to have Britain's spaceport in operation by 2018 even though a decision has yet to be made on its location. Several sites around the country have been linked to spaceport plans and are now being studied by officials.
"We have worked out the regulatory regime we need to launch spaceships in Britain and assessed what kind of aviation checks will have to be imposed when we put craft into space," said the science minister, David Willetts. "In the wake of that work we have now created a shortlist of locations for the first British spaceport."
Details of the list are being kept secret until Tuesday but experts believe locations could include the north of Scotland, Bristol, Norfolk and the Outer Hebrides. The first of these possible sites – Lossiemouth on the Moray coast of Scotland – is already home to a major helicopter rescue centre and has been pinpointed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic as a desirable site for launching its spaceplanes, a proposal that has been backed enthusiastically by the Scottish National party.
Virgin Galactic's first flights are set to take off from a purpose-built spaceport in New Mexico at the end of the year. Passengers will pay around £120,000 for a 150-minute flight in a tiny spaceplane that will take them to a height of around 100km (62 miles) and will allow them to experience about six minutes of zero-gravity. Once flights start taking off from New Mexico, Virgin says it wants to open spaceports in other countries and it has already had talks with Scottish ministers about locating a site at Lossiemouth.
"There are several other sites that have already been considered as potential spaceports in the UK and will have been looked at by space officials," added Nick Spall, of the British Interplanetary Society. "There is a rocket range at Benbecula and it has also been linked to spaceport plans in the past. However, the site – in the Outer Hebrides – is remote, and it is not clear that Richard Branson would want a location so far from the mainland to be used to launch his spaceplanes."
Another prospect is Filton airfield, near Bristol. All British-built Concordes flew out of Filton, and the base was also used to station Britain's fleet of Vulcan bombers during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. "Both Virgin Galactic and the California company XCOR are building spaceplanes that will take off like planes, which could make airfields like Filton very attractive to them," said Spall.
In the 1960s Britain considered building a launch pad for space rockets in Norfolk but abandoned the idea when engineers warned that jettisoned first stages could strike oil rigs as rockets flew out over the North Sea. Instead it was decided that Britain would launch its rockets in Australia until the Tory government decided in 1972 to cancel Britain's entire space launcher programme. The decision to build a UK spaceport now raises the prospect that a launch pad could be built in Norfolk half a century after the first plan was put forward.
Another consideration that will affect spaceport plans is the involvement of inventor Alan Bond, whose company Reaction Engines is developing a reusable spaceplane called Skylon which, it is hoped, will be able to take off and land like a plane. The government has already invested £60m in Bond's project. The first flights of Skylon are scheduled to take place before the end of the decade, and the spaceplane could use Britain's new spaceport as its base.
The decision to build a UK launch site represents a major change in attitude to the space industry by the government. Until recently, ministers have turned their backs on building rockets but the recent spectacular growth of British space companies, such as Surrey Satellites Technology, whose TechDemoSat-1 was launched into Earth orbit on board a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan last week, have forced ministers to change their minds.
On Tuesday, the Business, Innovations and Skills Department will reveal that Britain's space industry sector has grown by 7.2% over the past two years and is now worth more than £11bn billion while employing around 34,000 staff. The long-term aim is to raise this figure to around £40bn in 2030, when it is hoped the UK space industry will employ more than 100,000 people. "With a spaceport, we will add significantly to our ability to create a very strong UK space industry," said Willetts.
Artist impression of how the new spaceport could look
A Moray councillor believes the region should boldly grab the chance to become the base for the UK’s first spaceport with both hands.
Graham Leadbitter said there was a “serious possibility” the region could land the facility – and a huge boost to the local economy.
RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks were both named recently on a UK Government shortlist of possible sites where rockets, satellites and even tourists could be launched into orbit.
Experts have long described Moray as the “obvious” location for the port because of the runways at the two sites – RAF Kinloss used to be the main base for the air force’s fleet of Nimrod maritime patrol planes – as well as their proximity to the coast and the relatively clear path north over the sea they offer.
Last month, local councillors backed the development as an economic priority.
The global space market is estimated to be worth £400billion.
The Moray Economic Partnership is taking the lead in responding to a government consultation on the project.
Elgin City South SNP councillor Mr Leadbitter, who is his party’s economic development spokesman on Moray Council, said last night: “The SNP has been consistently arguing the case that Moray has strong potential for a spaceport given the technological and tourism potential it would bring to the region.
“People have been sceptical about this but it is becoming ever more clear that this is a serious possibility and we need to grab it with both hands.
“I am pleased Moray Economic Partnership and Moray Council are backing the idea and hope that people get behind us.”
Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has pledged its support to a UK spaceport.
A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “Virgin Galactic is currently focused on beginning commercial operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.
“As it has long stated, the company remains interested in operating outside of the US at some point in the future.
“The current UK Government space initiatives are noteworthy and comprehensive in their thoughtful approach to space industry expansion.”
Moray’s response to the spaceport consultation is expected to be submitted to the government on October 6.
Quelle: The Press and Journal
Boldly gone? Fife’s bid to lead the UK space race cut adrift
Any hopes Fife had of playing host to the UK’s first spaceport appear to be dwindling fast due to a lack of interest, The Courier understands.
The former RAF base at Leuchars had been pinpointed as a potential temporary location for the out-of-this-world facility as the UK Government drew up a shortlist of sites from which tourists and commercial satellites could be launched into orbit over the coming years.
However, it now looks as if a licensing system will be used for suitable sites to apply for a spaceport licence, rather than a site being specifically chosen by the authorities.
With Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport signing an agreement with Houston Spaceport last month which will see it benefit from the Texas city’s links with NASA, it is understood that sources close to the Fife bid have all but resigned themselves to defeat.
Representatives from Fife Council made their pitch for a self-styled “St Andrews Spaceport”, which would be housed at Leuchars, at a Royal Aeronautical Society conference in London last February, when they suggested a Fife spaceport would be within easy reach for 45% of Scotland’s population and accessible for Scotland’s top universities.
Leuchars’ runway on the military aerodrome would be an ideal site as it would meet environmental and weather requirements as well as being accessible for staff and visitors and away from densely populated areas, the Fife team also argued.
Iain Shirlaw, from Fife Council’s Invest in Fife team, said its stance remained unchanged but confirmed there has been no appetite as yet from potential investors.
“We remain committed to support any possibility of developing the spaceport at Leuchars but have not received notice of any formal approach,” he said.
Those behind the Prestwick bid say a spaceport could be operational with just £1 million of investment, as a memorandum of understanding was signed with a delegation from Houston Spaceport and the Rice Space Institute last month.
It will allow both parties to share best practice for commercial space launch activities, operation, safety and environmental standards and would enable the Prestwick to use NASA technology, research and resources in a commercial environment, and could also lead to customer referrals between the two spaceports.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s Department for Transport and the UK Space Agency are expected to reveal more plans about a regulatory framework for UK spaceports later this year.
Quelle: The Courier
Aviation expert Laurie Price claims Prestwick Airport's spaceport hopes are flight of fancy
EX-GOVERNMENT adviser Price branded the plan a 'fanciful notion' but airport experts believe they will bring space flight to Ayrshire's airport.
Aviation expert Laurie Price (left) claims the Spaceport plan is "a fanciful notion"
A leading aviation expert has branded transforming Prestwick into a spaceport as complete pie in the sky.
Our airport is claimed to be the front runner to become the UK’s first base for firing satellites and tourists into orbit.
But Laurie Price MBE suspects the space lure is now just a convenience – to allow the Scottish Government to continue ploughing millions of pounds of public money into it.
He said firmly: “It will never happen and is just a fanciful notion.”
Price, 65, was a UK Government adviser on aviation and insists any dreams of getting spacecraft up in the air from Prestwick are just that.
He said: “Someone has not thought this through. I think this is all about political headlines rather than economic reality.”
The Scottish Government saved the ailing airport three years ago for £1 – but has cost taxpayers £750,000 every month since.
The UK Government backed UK Space Agency tasked the Civil Aviation Authority to make a shortlist for Europe’s first operational spaceport, home to a new generation of horizontally-launched spaceplanes.
We can reveal that three years ago Price and the then MP for Central Ayrshire Brian Donohoe – who sat on the Transport Select Committee for 12 years – made a private 30-minute presentation to Nicola Sturgeon while Alex Salmond was First Minister.
The proposal included a service from Prestwick to RAF Northholt, just nine miles from Heathrow, as well as other money making ideas.
In addition Sturgeon – who ironically used to live in Prestwick – was told the future could be as a safe diversion base for all UK planes.
Price said: “I believe our presentation was ignored. But when all these increments of revenue are put together, Prestwick could become viable.”
His credentials as an air transport economist include being appointed adviser to the House of Commons All Party Aviation Group while he was chief aviation strategist for global consultants Mott MacDonald.
Previously he was aviation adviser to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee from 1997 to 2005.
He still holds a light aircraft pilot’s licence and spent 20 years with British Caledonian Airways and BA, including responsibility for Government affairs and route planning for North America.
A spaceport at Prestwick – where crafts would take off under the belly of a transporter and be jettisoned to head into space at 40,000 feet – will not happen for a number of reasons, insists Price.
He said: “If you look at the density of aircraft moving across the UK at any one time, how on earth would you create room for space activity?
“That alone would stop this at Prestwick or any of the other four airports that are being considered.
“Nicola needs to look above her head, sea all the contrails and get a reality check.
“Imagine the airport telling Ryanair they would have to stop flights because there was a spaceport operation going on. That would not happen.
“Then you look at the weather ... these spacecraft will come back to earth on a glider. They cannot throttle up and make another approach over Prestwick if needed.
“Equally given Brexit and we could be out of European space programmes, where is the demand and who is going to fund it?”
Aside from that he points out facilities nearer the Equator – to gain from the inertia of the Earth’s rotation – would provide the best position to get into space.
Significantly, Sturgeon was told Prestwick could gain revenue by shifting the night Royal Mail mail hub from Edinburgh.
The Royal Mail use a second cross-wind at privately-owned Edinburgh to park its night mail and parcel fleet and the move would free up Edinburgh for more development.
He suspects that second runway could be sold off to create a business park and housing and if so Prestwick could take over the night mail services.
Price said: “There is a deal to be struck here. The owners of Edinburgh could be given the go-ahead to develop their second runway in return for the mail service relocating to Prestwick. The owners of Edinburgh could be asked to run Prestwick as part of the arrangement.”
Since their meeting another development could add to Prestwick’s position.
The MOD has ordered nine P8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft which are converted Boeing 737’s, an aircraft already maintained at Prestwick.
Brian Donohoe said: “My advisers over the years have given a programme of potential for the airport.
“It has never been looked at seriously and these prospects are the only serious player in town.
“Anything else on the agenda is, in practical terms, exceptionally difficult to achieve.”
But Prestwick reckons it’s bang on course to become the UK’s first spaceport.
And this week it says Brexit will help secure a base, rather than turn the idea into a non-starter.
And they say that working to secure a licence will attract businesses from the space sector to establish themselves here, including Orbital Access which has already set up.
A spokesman said: “The process to deliver a UK Spaceport is being driven at a Westminster level. The UK Government announced in early 2014 that it was looking to establish a spaceport by 2020.
“This process was initially a bid and industry experts assessed suitability and pulled together a shortlist – with Prestwick one of six sites to make the list.
“The airport commissioned a technical feasibility study to better understand its suitability and the requirements to become an operational spaceport. This study was carried out by a US company with vast experience in establishing and supporting US spaceports.
"The study found that we had favourable weather conditions, an ideal location for polar satellite launches and much of the infrastructure required for a spaceport already in place.
“In the past year, the UK Government has changed the spaceport selection process from a bid to a licensing regime, enabling the commercial market to drive this process forward.
“Prestwick Airport is working closely with the UK Space Agency, CAA and DfT to progress towards securing a licence. These agencies – along with a number of key players in the space industry including Houston Spaceport, satellite companies and academics – firmly believe we are a prime contender to become the first spaceport in the UK and Europe.
“The UK is well placed to capitalise on the fast growing space industry and through the creation of a spaceport is in a position to offer competitive access to space for satellite companies from across the world looking for polar launches.
“We believe that Brexit will accelerate the delivery of a UK spaceport as now is the time to secure our position in the global market to help to underpin and grow our economy.”
Quelle: Daily Record
Could Scotland really have a spaceport?
Two Scottish sites are fighting hard to be the UK's first designated spaceport but is the idea pie in the sky or will there actually be lift-off?
Prestwick Airport in South Ayrshire and Machrihanish, near Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula, have recently stepped up their attempts to move into the space age.
They have been liaising with the UK government and the UK Space Agency over the possibility of licences being issued to break out of commercial airspace into orbit.
They are now waiting for the government to bring forward a bill setting out the requirements.
How did the idea come about?
It all began five years ago when the UK government announced that Britain should lead the way on commercial space flight and set a 2018 target for getting a spaceport up and running.
The sites needed to be a safe distance from densely populated areas and have a runway that could be extended to more than 3,000m (9,842ft).
The need for a long runway was because the government envisaged the spaceport launching horizontal take-off "spaceplanes", not old-technology vertical rockets.
Most of potential spaceplanes, such as the British-built Skylon, are still quite some time away from flying but ministers wanted the UK to be in position to catch the first wave when it arrived.
There was much talk of spaceports taking tourists on sub-orbital flights but the Scottish space community seems agreed that initially their main business would be delivering satellites into orbit or carrying out scientific research.
Space race competition but no funding
Two years ago a shortlist of five potential sites was announced. In addition to Machrihanish and Prestwick, Stornoway in the Western Isles was mentioned because it was one of the few sites that would be able to accommodate vertical launch rockets.
The Scottish sites were in competition with Llanbedr Airport in Wales and Newquay Cornwall Airport.
However, in May last year the government changed its focus and decided that any airport that met the criteria could become a spaceport.
At the same time it announced a Modern Transport Bill, which would include "legislation to enable the future development of the UK's first commercial spaceports".
Dr Malcolm Macdonald, director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications at Strathclyde University, said: "Initially it was announced as a competition between different sites and the government would back a winner.
"They have moved away from that to a licensing process."
What will the spaceports do?
The major interest of ministers and the space industry in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches rather than passenger space tourism.
Small satellite operators have difficulty getting low-cost access to space.
The first satellite designed and built in Scotland was launched in July 2014 via a rocket in Kazakhstan, piggy-backing along with other larger payloads.
Dr Macdonald said: "My feeling is they should have been targeting the launch of small and even nano satellites.
"That is what the sites in Scotland are now looking towards, while at the same time recognising the opportunities that would come along with space tourism."
Dr Macdonald added: "There are companies like OneWeb looking to launch a constellation of 650 spacecraft in the next three or four years to effectively deliver broadband from space.
"They have get them into orbit and they want to do that as cheaply as possible."
"If they can get operational very quickly they may be able to capitalise on that kind of market. There are number of companies looking at these mega constellations."
What is the hold-up?
The UK government's Department for Transport (DfT) told BBC Scotland it had been working hard to develop the Modern Transport Bill but there was currently "no timetable" for its implementation.
A DfT spokeswoman admitted that events over the last year, such as Brexit, had made it difficult to find parliamentary time for the bill.
Dr Macdonald said the Modern Transport Bill was very important as it would bring "clarity" to the regulatory requirements for a UK spaceport.
He said one of the problems would be how the spaceflight would "transition" through the area where civil aircraft are operating would need to be quite well regulated.
"On top of that if you are launching a rocket as an external store on an aircraft or if you are using a spaceplane then the fuel can be quite explosive so you need to have the correct blast radius" Dr Macdonald said.
"There would be a whole range of things that would be required."
Prestwick has done a lot of work in preparation, basing the requirements on those in place in the USA.
They claim it would only cost between £1m and £3.5m to have the airport fit to receive a US licence.
Prestwick Airport's spaceport development officer Richard Jenner said the airport would need to make some modifications but it was confident it already had most safety measures in place.
What are the Scottish sites planning?
The Machrihanish plan is being put together by DiscoverSpace UK.
Its managing director, Tom Millar, told BBC Scotland that vertical take-off was "not on the cards" so it was looking into the options for horizontal launches.
Machrihanish has a very long runway and is not close to large settlements, which meets the original government criteria.
Mr Millar also said that the airspace above the runway had very few commercial flights, taking away the concern over interference with passenger aircraft.
The project is also looking at connecting to a restricted airspace corridor that runs from the Ministry of Defence rocket range at Benbecula.
According to Mr Millar, getting small satellites into space would be a viable revenue stream.
He said the logistics of space tourism "do not stack up at this point".
Prestwick Airport's Richard Jenner said a company called Orbital Access was looking at an air-launch system.
It would use a wide-body carrier aircraft, with special modifications, to support the launch rocket before its release at altitude.
Dr Macdonald says: "They would use an aircraft to get up to altitude. It would carry a launcher rocket underneath the aircraft wings which is released at altitude and it goes up into space from there."
"It is an hybrid solution but would allow you to have a high frequency of launches. It could take off from any airport in terms of the aircraft but because of the rocket there would be a need for additional safety precautions."
Will it happen?
Dr Macdonald says: "I'd be surprised if at least Prestwick does not get a licence.
"Again it comes back to the qualifier that we don't know what the government are looking for but Prestwick have done a lot of work.
"They could start to build up the possibility.
"Whether they will ever become a day to day spaceport, that's quite a long way down the line but in some respects even if you develop the local capability in Scotland to design and build the vehicles that are accessing space but they they go off to operate in China, if they are designed and built in Scotland we are getting a lot of that value anyway."
Spaceport backers in bid for funds
One of the spaceplanes that could be flying out of Newquay.
THE group behind a bid to create a spaceport in Newquay plan to bid for a “large chunk” of the £10 million the Government is offering to push forward commercial spaceflight activity in the UK.
The Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aims to establish horizontal spaceplane launches deploying satellites from Cornwall Airport Newquay, as well as provide low-cost access to space.
The Government is inviting applications for grants to make the UK the first place in Europe where commercial space operators can launch small satellites into orbit, or offer spaceplane flights for science and tourism from 2020.
The growing space and aerospace sector is a key priority for the Cornwall LEP as Newquay airport boasts one of the UK’s longest runways and uncongested airspace, while Goonhilly Earth Station offers mission control, tracking and communication facilities.
Sandra Rothwell, chief executive of the Cornwall LEP, said: “Newquay is the only site able to offer low cost access to space in the UK by the target date of 2020. We are perfectly placed to maximise the potential from the global small satellite launch market, and spaceplane development.
“We are studying the detail of the Government’s call for applications for grant support. They are expecting joint bids from potential launch sites and launch vehicle operators, and the Aerohub team at Newquay is already in dialogue with a number of potential partners from around the world. We are also working with three other LEPs with space-related assets to create a UK-based satellite launch programme and a UK spaceport in Cornwall. And we will be making the case for Cornwall’s ability to deliver what is a vital part of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy.”
Aerohub Enterprise Zone manager, Miles Carden, added: “It is a very welcome announcement and an exciting time for the Enterprise Zone at Cornwall Airport Newquay. We have been working hard behind the scenes for two years to build our plans for a spaceport and a complete satellite launch capability from Cornwall. We are going to make a bid to the fund and hope to get a large chunk of that £10 million for Cornwall.
“What is quite exciting about the bid is that is not just for the infrastructure for the spaceport but also for space vehicle operators such as horizontal launched spaceplanes. We are looking to deliver a specialised facility. This will house, for example, a traditional airliner with a rocket and satellite payload attached. Satellites will be launched by the rocket from the aircraft at a high altitude.
“The money would also be used to support the launch system. We are working with Goonhilly to be our mission control and system tracking services so we are offering a complete package.”
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has promised to publish draft legislation to enable safe spaceflight from the UK by 2020 in the next few weeks. The Spaceflight Bill is needed because the rocket planes and other launch systems currently in development around the world would not be able to operate out of the UK.
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, said: “We intend to publish a draft spaceflight bill later this month, dedicated to commercial spaceflight in the UK. This legislation will enable small satellite launches and sub-orbital flights from the UK, ensuring we are well placed to take advantage of a growing global market. The space sector is vital to the future of the UK economy, with a strong record of creating high-value jobs and generating wealth across the country. The UK Space Agency is inviting commercial space consortia to apply for grant funding to take the action that will make our ambitions a reality.”
“Together, the proposed legislation and grant funding will have the potential to enable commercial spaceflight from a UK spaceport by 2020.”
Jo Johnson added: “Spaceflight 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 worth an estimated £25 billion over the next 20 years.”
Newquay MP Steve Double has welcomed the announcement by the Government that they are launching a £10 million scheme looking for bids for grants. Mr Double said: “Cornwall Airport Newquay has been heavily tipped as a potential location for the spaceport and making this a reality is something I have been working with the excellent management team there, as well as colleagues locally and in Westminster, to bring about.
“With this announcement it is clear that Cornwall Airport Newquay is at an exciting place right now. I look forward to supporting the bid for Newquay and will continue to champion Cornwall as the best location for the UK spaceport.”
The LEP and the Aerohub will be attending a UK Space Agency conference in London later this month that will highlight progress being made towards small satellite launch and sub-orbital flights in the UK. The team will be setting out why Newquay is the best place for a UK spaceport. Newquay will also be represented at the national UK Space Conference in Manchester later this year.
Quelle: Newquay Voice
Britain's first spaceports set for lift off as new laws are unveiled that will allow rockets and satellites to take off from Britain
Under the new SpaceFlight bill space ports will be built across the UK
They could be operational as soon as 2020, launching rockets and satellites
Ministers said the UK space sector is the 'future of the British economy'
Private companies will be able to launch their own rockets into space from UK spaceports under new laws unveiled today (Mon).
The powers will allow the launch of satellites, vertical rockets and horizontal flights from the UK for the first time.
Currently satellites can only be launched into orbit from space stations in countries such as the US and India.
But under a new SpaceFlight bill, space ports will be established in regions across the UK.
Spaceports, like this artist's rendition, could soon be operational all around the UK
They will be operational as soon as 2020 and will allow Britain to surge ahead of other countries in the global space race.
Announcing the bill, ministers said the UK space sector is the ‘future of the British economy’ and the Government wants the UK to ‘remain at the forefront of a new commercial space age for the next forty years’.
New powers will mean British scientists will be able to conduct vital experiments in zero gravity which could help develop vaccines and medicines.
Antibiotics grow differently where there is no gravity and so the move has the potential to help scientists conduct revolutionary research.
The flights could also carry out hundreds of vital scientific experiments on medical issues such as ageing and the human body.
Once launched, the space satellites could also help provide broadband to rural communities and monitor weather systems as they move around the earth.
They could even help rural health workers who use satellite communications to diagnose and assist patients situated far from specialist health services.
Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said: ‘The UK’s space sector is the future of the British economy.’
He said it already employs thousands of people and supports industries worth more than £250million to the economy, and he wants it to grow it further.
He added: ‘Forty years ago, meteorologists couldn’t have imagined the importance of satellites for predicting the weather.
Up until now UK companies have been reliant on space ports in other countries, such as this one in French Guiana
‘Today over 90 per cent of data used in every forecast comes from a satellite, with hundreds of other applications used in GPS, telecommunications and broadband.
‘We have never launched a spaceflight before from this country.
‘Our ambition is to allow for safe and competitive access to space from the UK, so we remain at the forefront of a new commercial space age, for the next forty years.’
The new laws give powers to commercial companies to apply to send rockets into space.
A bill will be introduced later this year which will set out specific rules and regulations for operators - such as safety and insurance measures.
The Government is calling for businesses and industries to come forward with specific proposals for space launches.
In addition, the Government is inviting commercial space businesses to bid for funding to help create a space launch market in the UK.
The space sector already employs thousands in the UK and supports industries worth £250 billion to the economy
The Department for Transport said the ‘sector is vital to the future of the UK economy’.
A spokesman added: ‘It creates high-value jobs and generates wealth across the country.
‘Our regions will benefit from direct access to space as the building of local space ports will lead to more demand in hospitality and tourism services, creating jobs and opportunities.’
Businesses currently have to rely on launch services located in other countries such as the US, Japan, or India, and often have to share launch vehicles, which can lead to delays and restrictions on where satellites can go.
The Bill builds on £10 million of grant funding announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy earlier this month which will deliver an early boost to the UK’s commercial spaceflight market.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: ‘From the launch of Rosetta, the first spacecraft to orbit a comet, to Tim Peake’s six months on the International Space Station, the UK’s space sector has achieved phenomenal things in orbit and beyond.
‘With this week’s Spaceflight Bill launch, we will cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in this emerging market, giving us an opportunity to build on existing strengths in research and innovation.’ New launch technology for small satellites will provide low cost, reliable access to space, the department added.
Forecasts suggest the global market for commercial space flights will be worth £25 billion over the next twenty years.
Quelle: Daily Mail
Craig Dalzell: We’re on the cusp of another revolution – and the space sector could cement Scotland's place at its heart
THE world is becoming increasingly connected and our industries are becoming ever more technological in nature. Right now, Scotland stands on the cusp of a new industrial revolution which could boost our nation’s economy into new frontiers. Encouraging Scotland’s already powerful yet still nascent space industries by the creation of a Scottish Space Agency is precisely the tool we need to become one of the world’s leading space nations. Knowledge of our current strengths and weaknesses in this sector is key and this is where Craig Berry’s paper for Common Weal comes in.
His paper lays out clearly why Scotland’s space industry needs the dedicated and locally present support of a Scottish Space Agency which can tie the sector together and allow it to grow.