Space Flight Bill Could See Scotland Become 'Thriving Hub' For The Industry

20 June 2017, 06:37

Space moon

A space flight bill to be included in the Queen's Speech could see Scotland become "a thriving hub'' for the industry, according to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

New powers would see the launch of satellites from the UK for the first time, horizontal flights to the edge of space for scientific experiments and the creation of spaceports across the UK.

A number of Scottish sites have expressed an interest in the project, including Prestwick, Machrihanish and Stornoway.

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said: "This new legislation on space ports will be a giant leap forward for Scotland's ambitious space and satellite sector.

"It will give each of our potential spaceports a fantastic opportunity to establish Scotland as a thriving hub for commercial spaceflight.

"By capitalising on our existing scientific expertise, a Scottish spaceport would create new, skilled jobs and drive economic growth.''

More than 38,000 jobs rely on the UK's space industry, which is worth £13.7 billion to the economy.

The global market for launching satellites is estimated to be £25 billion over the next 20 years.

New powers would be given for a wide range of new spaceflight, including vertically-launched rockets, spaceplanes, satellite operation, spaceports and other technologies.

It would take the UK into the commercial space age by enabling small satellite launch and spaceflight from UK spaceports.

And it will create new opportunities for the UK's scientific community to carry out research in a microgravity environment by giving British scientists easier access.

The legislation comes as part of a series of bills aimed at infrastructure.

Theresa May is preparing for the Queen's Speech on Wednesday but has not yet struck a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her minority government.

The event sets out the Prime Minister's legislative plans for the coming year.