News and Views from Scotland

Scotland Edges Towards Space Tourism Blast-off

Scotland has moved closer to launching flights into orbit after Glasgow Prestwick Airport teamed up with a space plane firm and launch vehicle designer.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited. If successful the plan will be for the space tourism operation to be launched at Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire. The move takes it closer to launching manned flights using XCOR's Lynx space craft, including taking passengers to the edge of space in sub-orbital flights.

Mike Stewart, business development director at the spaceport at Prestwick, said:

"Signing the memorandum of understanding with Orbital Access and XCOR is a further step forward in our work to make space launches from our site a reality."

"We already have the vast majority of the infrastructure in place and with as little as £1 million investment we could be up and running. Having a pipeline of partners, customers and suppliers in place will be hugely helpful in pulling together the business case for the investment required to get up and running."

Mike Stewart also said progress being made shows the UK Government made the right decision earlier this year in scrapping a competition to establish the UK's first spaceport in favour of a licensing process.

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July 2016

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