British Spaceports Alliance Formed

Last week, the Scottish Space Leadership Council announced that the Spaceports Alliance, an association of the proposed spaceport sites in Scotland, has been formed – with the intention of also including the Welsh and Cornish spaceports.

Three vertical launch sites, Spaceport 1 in the Western Isles, Space Hub Sutherland, and Shetland Space Centre, and two horizontal launch sites, Machrihanish Airbase Community Company and Prestwick Spaceport, have agreed to form the Alliance, in order to present a united front for the advancement of the British space launch infrastructure and to promote British launch facilities on the international market. The Alliance will also enable the spaceport industry as a whole to discuss regulatory issues with government agencies, to produce operating rules that facilitate the nascent industry whilst promoting safety.

Ivan McKee, the Scottish Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said that he was “Delighted that the spaceports across Scotland have come together under the banner of the Scottish Space Leadership Council to form the Spaceport Alliance in what is an extremely exciting time for the emerging space sector globally. Our ambition is to capture the substantial economic benefits of the emerging global space sector by ensuring Scotland becomes the first country in Europe to provide an end-to-end solution for small satellite manufacture, launch and innovation in satellite data analysis, including critical earth observation and environmental data. The space sector in Scotland also has a key role to play in tackling climate change. Having the ability to launch satellites here in Scotland will enable the expansion and enhancement of earth observation and environmental data giving Scotland a real and meaningful contribution to efforts to tackle the climate emergency and enhance the Green Recovery as set out in our Programme for Government.”

Commenting on the mutual interests of the new Alliance and the UK Space Agency, Ian Annett, Deputy CEO for Project Delivery of UKSA said: “The UK Space Agency and the new Spaceports Alliance are working in lockstep towards a common goal – make the UK the leading destination for space launch in Europe. We want each spaceport to provide a range of services that complements those available at other spaceport sites; meeting the myriad demands from companies for satellite launches and sub-orbital flights. Spaceports Alliance will help us realise this ambition and build on our space sector’s proud history of collaboration.”

Chair of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, John Innes, said: “The formation of the Spaceport Alliance is a major step forward in the development of a common, collaborative sectoral approach to the development of the UK Space Sector. SSLC has been advocating a collegiate sectoral approach to addressing the broad range of common issues which the sector as a whole needs to solve to enable everyone to grow and secure the significant economic opportunities space can offer to UK industry. SSLC is delighted to sponsor and chair this initiative.”

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