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British Spaceport to be Built in Scotland

As the race to conquer space heats up between nations and companies alike, the need to create the infrastructure that would support a space industry becomes more and more stringent in an increasing number of countries.
Rockets to become a common sight in Scotland 1 photo
As a sign that all the talk surrounding SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic will eventually lead to tangible results, British regulators decided this week that they too wants a piece of the action.

As part of the Space Industry Act announced earlier in the year, the UK will begin building its first vertical launch spaceport in northern Scotland, on the A'Mhoine Peninsula. The complex will be built by Highlands and Islands Enterprise for an estimated  £2.5 million ($3.3 million).

“We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the U.K., and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here,” Graham Turnock, head of the UK Space Agency said in a statement cited by Bloomberg.

Currently, the European Space Agency’s single spaceport is not even located in Europe. The agency conducts launches from the French Guiana, an overseas department of France located in South America.

Globally, rockets of all shapes and sizes are launched by an increasing number of organizations. The most famous launch site is Cape Canaveral, in Florida, followed closely by the one in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The Indians launch things into orbit from Satish Dhawan.

Usually, spaceports have been placed as close to the Equator as possible, because this allows rockets to follow the easiest way up. Scotland is located much further north, but it can be used to reach polar and near-polar orbits and will be open to companies from all over the world, especially American ones.

With today’s announcement, in just three weeks, Europe itself got, at least on paper, two new spaceports. The first is in Italy and has been announced by Virgin Galactic as the second spaceport from which manned missions to space to be launched.


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