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Scotland Could see Europe’s First Space Flight Following New Legislation

Graham Turner

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Space flight Scotland
The new framework means Britain will be the first in Europe to launch spacecraft and satellites from home soil.

Planned spaceport sites across the UK will create a significant number of highly skilled jobs, with the potential for launches to take place from 2022.

Five out of seven UK spaceports are planned for Scotland, with proposed locations including the Western Isles, Glasgow, Machrihanish, Sutherland and Shetland.

The regulations will accommodate not only the UK’s spaceflight and satellite ambitions but the rest of Europe, which currently launch from a site in French Guiana, South America.

The new legislation, as well as creating new jobs, will lead to better monitoring of climate change, as well as improved data for satellite navigation systems, improving journeys here on the ground, following successful launches.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We stand on the cusp of the new commercial space age, and this is the ‘blast off’ moment for the UK’s thriving space industry, demonstrating government’s commitment to put Britain at the global forefront of this sector.

“These regulations will help create new jobs and bring economic benefits to communities and organisations right across the UK, helping us to level up as we inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers,” he adds.


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Today’s announcement comes alongside the formal appointment of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the industry regulator, who come on board with nearly 50 years of aviation regulation experience.

The CAA also has proven track record in overseeing the aviation sector in the UK, which is one of the safest in the world, as well as experience in regulating rocket activities under the Air Navigation Order 2016.

In time, we will also start to see new and emerging space activity including sub-orbital space tourism and, eventually, new transport systems such as hypersonic flight.

Not only will this support the UK’s space sector, the hope is it will also attract companies from around the globe to come to, and benefit from, these commercial opportunities.

ADS Chief Executive Kevin Craven said: “The applications of space technology are rapidly evolving and the UK’s dynamic space sector is set to continue growing its £16 billion contribution to our economy.

“Putting in place this regulatory framework is another important step towards making commercial space launch from UK spaceports a reality, which will offer major opportunities throughout our space industry and its supply chain.”

Graham Turner

Sub Editor

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