Prestwick Airport is a step closer to becoming the UK’s first spaceport

Dreams of a spaceport for Britain will be a step closer to reality with new laws to cash in on the commercial opportunities of outer space.

With the Space Industry Act receiving Royal Assent today and a legislative framework established, Glasgow Prestwick Airport is set to apply for a licence and expects to become the first fully operational, licensed spaceport in the UK and Europe.

The way is now paved for commercial UK space launches and Glasgow Prestwick Airport aims to offer horizontal launches of orbital and sub-orbital missions for satellite launches, micro-gravity experiments and passenger spaceflight experiences.

Richard Jenner, director of Glasgow Prestwick’s Spaceport project, said:

“We are delighted the enabling legislation is being enacted. It is a very significant stage in the process.

“We have had a professional technical assessment of our infrastructure and facilities conducted by independent consultants and we confidently meet all the technical criteria set out by the Department for Transport. These include our favourable meteorological conditions, relatively clear airspace and excellent transport links, as well as our ability to meet the needs of industry with many aerospace businesses on our doorstep and the room on site to accommodate more. As such, we believe that our airport is able to move at pace with the legislative process equipping us to become the UK and Europe’s first space launch site with minimal investment.

“The space industry is predicted to be worth £400bn globally by 2030 and the UK aims to target 10 percent of that business by then. We are confident we can help the government to meet its commitment to have space launch capability in the UK by 2020. A UK Spaceport based in Prestwick would be an economic win for Scotland and the UK.

“Glasgow Prestwick Airport has a long history of being in the forefront of aviation and aerospace and we’re really excited for this new opportunity to diversify and develop our business.”

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