Britain has chalked out a roadmap to build the country’s first commercial spaceport and have it operational by as early as 2018. It would be the first of its kind spaceport ever to be built outside of the US, as reported by the Guardian. A list of eight locations for the spaceport has been drawn up by the government and will be announced today at the Farnborough air show. For the government and the space industry, the major interest in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches, but it will also become a centre for other commercial activities such as new space tourism initiatives from specialist operators like Virgin Galactic and XCor.
“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,” said Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Commercial space tourism has become a lucrative business and is all set to take off in a big way; this might be just the right moment for the UK to jump in. Virgin Galactic plans to have its first commercial flights begin later this year from a base in New Mexico, and the company says it wants to open spaceports in other countries and it has already had talks with Scottish ministers about locating a site at Lossiemouth.
[Via – BBC]