Tom Keighley

Member Article

Calls for UK Spaceport, to grow £8bn sector

The Institute of Directors has made the case for a UK Spaceport, to drive the industry even further in the future.

Based on the findings of the ‘Space - Britain’s New Infrastructure Frontier’ report, studies the scale and breadth of the sector, which now supports 85,000 jobs in the UK.

As part of the Infrastructure for Business series, the author explores the infrastructure and policy needs of the £8bn sector.

The space industry has more than doubled in size over the last decade, and if job growth continues at the 15% rate of the last few years, employment in the sector will reach 100,000 by 2020.

As NASA’s Space Shuttle programme ends, the report highlights a “private sector space revolution” with a host of companies competing to provide space taxi services.

Private sector innovation is contributing to lowering the cost of getting cargo into space, as companies such as SpaceX, already have contracts with NASA worth over $4bn to launch cargos to the International Space Station and deliver satellites into orbit.

The report makes the case for a spaceport as a hub for space tourism, research and development, and would have several requirements, including a long runway, an “undisturbed high altitude air corridor.”

A wider regulatory framework for space journeys was also called for, as safety, environmental and flight regulations are needed to insure enterprises and calculate set-up costs.

Dan Lewis, author of the report and a Policy Adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: “The UK space industry is a real success story, overwhelmingly built up by the private sector and creating a large number of highly skilled jobs.

“We should celebrate how well the space sector has done, and learn the lessons of how its strong growth has been delivered.

“This is a fantastic base to build on, in terms of skills and turnover, and a spaceport is the logical next step to grow Britain’s space industry even further.

“It is exciting to think that Britain has an opportunity to be one of the first countries in the world to have a commercial spaceport, making us the centre of a booming new industry.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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