Spaceport Plans To Be Revealed

Details of Britain's first spaceport are being announced today by ministers.

And Scotland is thought to be among the eight possible locations which will be revealed on the second day of the Farnborough air show in Hampshire.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said last weekend: "The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future.''

Representatives from the UK Space Agency are joining Government ministers to reveal the potential locations for the spaceport which they hope will be ready by 2018.

As part of ambitious plans, the Government aims to capture 10% of the world's space market by 2030. It says the UK sector has grown by just over 7% in the past two years, making it worth £11 billion and employing 34,000 people.

Before today's announcement, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This week we will announce the next steps for this country's space race and how we will take one giant leap towards creating the first British spaceport, making space travel one step closer for all.''

The Government has said a spaceport would open up the UK tourism industry to specialist operators like Virgin Galactic and XCor, and predicted the sector could be worth £40 billion and provide 100,000 jobs if the 2030 target is met.

There have been reports that the Government is hoping that Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson will build the port as part of his Virgin Galactic project.

Virgin Galactic's first flights are scheduled to take off from a purpose-built spaceport in New Mexico, USA,  at the start of the year, with passengers paying £120,000 for a 150-minute flight that will climb to heights of around 62 miles to achieve zero gravity for approximately six minutes.

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