Members of the British Parliament are considering a proposal for setting up a spaceport for sending astronauts and satellites into orbit, Aviation Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad announced.
While the UK has been sending astronauts and satellites into Earth’s orbit for the last many decades, it always partnered with other countries like the United States and Russia, for a ride. However, the increasingly lucrative space industry has now prompted British lawmakers to find ways to develop the country’s own launch capability.
Speaking on the topic, Lord Ahmad said, “We have never launched a spaceflight before from this country. Our ambition is to allow for safe and competitive access to space from the UK, so we remain at the forefront of a new commercial space age, for the next 40 years.”
The “Spaceflight Bill” draft, unveiled on Tuesday, detailed potential regulations for the country’s own spaceport that could start operations as early as in 2020. Space industry leaders recently assembled in London to discuss this possibility in a “Launch UK” conference.
Over the recent past, small, low-cost satellites known as CubeSats have created a money-spinning new market for satellite technology and launches. Britain has also benefited from this new market. In June last year, the House of Commons’ Science & Technology Committee reported that the U.K. space economy generated a turnover of £11.8 billion and directly employed more than 35,000 people during 2012-13.