Prestwick Spaceport has already secured an £80 million funding boost
through the Ayrshire Growth Deal to enable it to undergo a highly
ambitious Aerospace and Space Programme and become the leading
horizontal launch spaceport in Europe. The spaceport is now setting out
to create an unrivalled space supply-chain network, boosted by a
location easily reached by road, rail, sea and air – and accessible to a
vast talent pool.
Newquay is believed to be the only potential spaceport site in England, but there are six possible sites in Scotland and one in Wales. Such a facility would house rockets and spaceplanes which would carry satellites, astronauts and even tourists into orbit. Last week, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the government was "pushing forward with plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018".
Glasgow Prestwick Airport spaceport development project has taken a giant leap after securing a launch partner. In partnership with South Ayrshire Council, the airport signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UK-based horizontal ‘air launch’ company Astraius. The agreement will see Astraius deploy its horizontal launch technology as part of Prestwick’s spaceport development. This will allow the spaceport to launch rockets carrying small satellites from high altitude.
Sir Richard Branson’s private space venture Virgin Orbit launched its second successful satellite mission this year on Wednesday, with CEO Dan Hart telling CNBC the company now is focused on “ramping up” and expanding operations globally. “We’re on a really good trajectory to have another flight this year, and then double that cadence and have six flights next year and then increase from there,” Hart said.
Australia is developing three viable sites for various commercial launches: Equatorial Launch Australia is developing the Arnhem Space Centre in Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory; Gilmour Space Technologies is supporting a launch site at Abbot Point near Bowen, Queensland; and Southern Launch is establishing the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex near Port Lincoln, South Australia.