Government reveals UK space tourism ambitions

by Jak Phillips | 07 May 2014

The government has backed plans for a four-fold expansion of the UK space industry, with the potential for an operational British spaceport within five years as it bids to cash in on the expected boom in space tourism.

Science minister David Willetts has long been an advocate of the British space industry and hopes to see it grow to a value of £40bn by 2030.

Willetts has reportedly indicated that he’d like to see Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space shuttles take off from the new UK site.

The government is currently investigating the required legal framework to permit a spaceport to be set up in the UK, with preferred potential sites thought to be away from the south east.

The announcements came in response to an industry report published last year called the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy Action Plan.

With space tourism expected to grow considerably in the next decade, the government is eager to leverage the UK’s precision engineering skills honed through its strong defence technology sector to capitalise on the boom.

“Space industries already support 95,000 full time jobs and generate £9.1bn for the economy each year, and our response to the Growth Action Plan shows our commitment to secure its future growth and realise ambitions to develop a viable UK space port for commercial space flight,” said Willetts.

The government has backed plans for a four-fold expansion of the UK space industry, with the potential for an operational British spaceport within five years as it bids to cash in on the expected boom in space tourism. Science minister David Willetts has long been an advocate of the British space industry and hopes to see it grow to a value of £40bn by 2030. Willetts has reportedly indicated that
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Shuttles may be blasting off from a British spaceport by 2019, under new government plans to embrace the growing space tourism sector / Shutterstock / 3Dsculptor
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