From airport to spaceport: £2m available to develop horizontal spaceflight in the UK
Future spaceports can apply for a share of £2m to support plans for small satellite launch from aircraft and sub-orbital flight from the UK, Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced today.
Sites such as Newquay in Cornwall, Campbeltown and Glasgow Prestwick in Scotland, and Snowdonia in Wales are already developing their sub-orbital flight, satellite launch and spaceplane ambitions. The £2m strategic development fund, opened by the UK Space Agency, will help sites like these accelerate their plans further.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “The UK space sector is thriving, and horizontal spaceflight is an exciting prospect which could provide services to our world-leading small satellite industry as well as international customers and space tourists.
“This new fund will help develop ambitious proposals to enable spaceplanes and aircraft capable of deploying satellites to operate from future UK spaceports, as part of the government’s modern industrial Strategy.”
The potential spaceports can now submit applications to enable research into the market opportunities offered by new and emerging horizontal spaceflight technologies. Grant recipients can then use this research to develop an individual business case for offering horizontal launch services from the UK in the early 2020s, better positioning themselves to engage with potential suppliers and investors.
Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said: “The UK’s spaceflight expertise means we are ready to thrive in the new space age, encouraging innovation and creating jobs. This fund provides a chance for UK spaceports to take the initiative and become global leaders in this field.”