The UK government aims to be the first country in Europe to launch satellites into space. It has passed legislation to allow licenses for commercial space launches from Cornwall, Scotland and Wales.
The regulations were developed with the UK Space Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) so that rockets can launch from UK soil for the first time.
“This is a pivotal moment for our spaceflight ambitions. Since the start of the spaceflight programme in 2017, we have been clear that we want to be the first country to launch into orbit from Europe,” said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “The laying of these regulations puts us firmly on track to see the first UK launches take place from 2022, unlocking a new era in commercial spaceflight,” he said.The Space Industry Regulations will come into force this summer and allow traditional rockets as well as high-altitude balloons and spaceplanes.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is developing a vertical launch site for satellites in Sutherland which will use a combination of existing and new rocket technologies, backed by the UK division of Lockheed Martin and UK rocket startup Orbex. The spaceport should be operational in the next three years.