Plans have been approved to commence the development of Europe’s first spaceport right here in the UK.
After a three month consultation, the UK government has confirmed that there is widespread support for its plans to make commercial spaceflight operations in the country a reality.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has produced a shortlist of five potential sites for the spaceport. Three of those are in Scotland, namely Campbeltown, Glasgow Prestwick and Stornoway. Also under consideration are Newquay in Cornwall, England, and Llanbedr in Wales.
An RAF base near Fife could act as a temporary site, too.
As reported by The Independent, the UK spaceport could be operational by 2018. Once complete, it will be used to launch commercial flights into space as well as super-fast international travel.
It’s estimated that flights to Sydney will be slashed from 14 hours to just two hours.
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“I want Britain to lead the way in commercial spaceflight,” said UK aviation minister Robert Goodwill. “Establishing a spaceport will ensure we are at the forefront of this exciting new technology.”
Of course, this is just the first step in creating a working spaceport on British soil. The next step is for the Department for Transport to come up with a “detailed technical specification of spaceport requirements,” and then to invite construction proposals. This specification is due to be published later this year.