UK holds the title of the world’s busiest city airport system, with all airports combined in London. With that out of the way, UK now seems to be poised to jump to higher levels. Perhaps with just that ambition, UK has decided to have its first spaceport built and operational by the year 2018. The plans haven’t been formally announced, but will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, 2014.
According to the British daily, The Guardian, UK government are already are in the possession of a list of candidate places that are suitable for the upcoming spaceport. The government will detail the eight locations on the upcoming official announcement to be made on Tuesday. Locations speculated to be chosen for the spaceport includes Bristol, Norfolk, the north of Scotland, and the Outer Hebrides.
With the construction of the spaceport, UK will enable space tourism companies like Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace to launch commercial space flights from within the country. According to UK Science Minister David Willetts, the government has already worked out the new rules and regulations that would entail bringing space launches into the commercial sector, along with the various aviation checks, which are quite different for space crafts. Thus pointing to the fact that all the preliminary hurdles and technicalities have been overcome and all that now remains is to get the location finalized and get the spaceport off the drawing boards.
The shortlisted locations are being studied by government officials for their feasibility and would be detailed in the upcoming announcement. The spaceport is poised to be able to launch both manned missions and commercial satellites. UK hopes to have companies like XCOR Aerospace and Virgin Galactic to be the commercial contractors of its spaceport.
Commercial space tourism is on the rise, ever since Virgin Galactic kicked off the trend. In fact Richard Branson, the Virgin Galactic founder is all ready to start launching regular space flights from a base in New Mexico starting this year itself. The endeavor is also poised to be profitable for UK’s government too. Their current space sector is valued at over £11 billion with UK planning to increase it to over £40 billion. In that spirit, the time seems to be as good as any!
Source: The Verge