Science

U.K. to open its first commercial spaceport by 2018

Ministry of Space
Image Credit: Chris Weston/Image Comics

Space tourism isn’t a reality yet, but the U.K. is certainly taking steps to make sure it eventually happens.

British government officials are preparing to announce plans to build the country’s first commercial spaceport, reports the Guardian, with an official announcement expected Tuesday.

A commercial spaceport would allow companies like Virgin Galactic to send manned space crafts beyond the Earth’s atmosphere as well as launch commercial satellites into space.

“We have worked out the regulatory regime we need to launch spaceships in Britain and assessed what kind of aviation checks will have to be imposed when we put craft into space,” said U.K. science minister David Willetts in an interview with the Guardian. “In the wake of that work we have now created a shortlist of locations for the first British spaceport.”

The government, which is predicting the commercial space industry to see revenues of $500 billion by 2030, is reportedly looking at eight different locations for the spaceport, including Scotland, Bristol, Norfolk, and the Outer Hebrides.