Brits take one step closer to the moon as first UK spaceport location revealed

Adventurous Brits will this week come a step closer to checking in for flights into outer space.

Business Secretary Greg Clark will announce that Sutherland, on Scotland’s north coast, has been chosen as the site for the UK’s first spaceport.

It will initially host launches of space rockets and satellites, but commercial passenger travel could then follow.

Mr Clark will say at this week’s Farnborough Air Show that this is the start of a “new British Space Age”.

And he will add that the space flight market could be worth £4billion to the UK economy over the next 10 years.

Sutherland beat off competition from Prestwick, Ayrshire, Unst in the Shetlands and Newquay airport, Cornwall.

The spaceport will provide the infrastructure needed for space tourism, though a regulatory framework for passenger trips has yet to be created.

The Space Industry Bill cleared its Commons stages in March, paving the way for the spaceport.

Transport minister Jo Johnson said: “This puts us at the forefront of the new space race. It helps us to compete as the destination of choice for satellite companies worldwide.”

Nearly a fifth of the UK’s space industry is based in Scotland, and Glasgow builds more satellites than any other city in Europe. A consortium submitted a proposal for Sutherland to the UK Space Agency saying the A’Mhoine peninsular was ideal for launching satellites into orbit.

They expect to be able to collar business from the military, government and private industry.

SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford said: “Launches are currently carried out from Kazakhstan.

“Easy launch access from Scotland would benefit the commercial satellite industry right across the UK.”

The move is backed by the specialist technical staff union Prospect, GMB and Unite.

And Mr Clark hopes Britain’s share of the global space economy will increase from 6.5 per cent now to 10 per cent by 2030.

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