The UK will soon launch the world’s first ever spaceport outside the United States. The goal of launching this spaceport is to send tourists into space. The UK government says that it launch tourists into space as soon as 2018.
The plans to build this spaceport were first revealed at the Farnborough Air Show earlier this week. The air show took place in Hampshire, England. During the announcement, the UK government said that there are eight possible places that it will build this spaceport: Wales, England or six other spots located in Scotland.
Vince Cable, the business secretary, said that space is a huge business for the UK. So far, space already contributes around £11.3 billion to the UK economy every single year and provides Brits with around 35,000 jobs. The UK is looking to expand that by building this spaceport.
Until this most recent announcement, the UK has had very little direct involvement with space. In fact, the UK launches its rockets from sites in Australia rather than from its own official site in the UK. This will all change if the spaceport is brought to fruition.
According to the UK government, it is hoping to capture around 10 percent of the global space sector. If it can do it, it will have a huge chunk of an industry that may soon be worth more than $68 billion a year.
David Willetts, the science minster, said that the government has already been working out the regulatory regime that would be needed to launch spaceships from the UK. Right now it is looking into what kind of aviation checks would need to be in place for the UK to launch spacecraft into space. He added that his benchmark is to ensure that the UK’s space sector continues to grow faster than that of the Chinese economy.
The biggest problem that the UK faces is growing competition. In fact, Reaction Engines is a group that has already announced a new revolutionary design for a spaceship. This ship is going to have no pilot and will be completely reusable.
One thing is for sure, this new announcement is sure to spark some kind of competitive rush. Companies who want to be the first into space are likely going to start rushing to achieve that goal. The first company to be known for taking travellers to space will have a clear advantage over all of the other companies to come. Let’s just hope that companies do not rush and mess something up. People want to travel to space, but they want to do it safely.