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UK wants ‘Spaceport’

The UK is likely to approve plans to build a satellite launching and space tourism facility.

There are various planning applications and financial schemes underway. The UK government announced May 18 that it would permit one of these schemes to proceed, and is looking to have the facility in use during 2018.

Eight sites are on the UK’s shortlist, six of which are in Scotland, one in Wales and another in Cornwall.

All are in fairly isolated regions with the exception of Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport and Cornwall’s Newquay Airport.

The Cornwall plan is reported to be the favourite location, given its southerly location.

However, a Scottish plan (near Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula, the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC)) says it is ‘runway ready’. Tom Millar, chairman of MACC and Discover Space UK, said: “It’s clear there remains a keen appetite for a spaceport in the UK and we’re ready to show we share the government’s enthusiasm and passion to make this happen.”

The MACC site is “runway ready” because NASA approved its 3,000 metre runway as an emergency facility for any problem Space Shuttle launch.  In 2009 Virgin Galactic has also endorsed the Scottish site as its “preferred option”.

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