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News Archive > General > Chief confident over spaceport bid

Chief confident over spaceport bid

By Warren Wilkins 1st February 2017

Chief confident over spaceport bid
An artist´s impression of the spaceport at Newquay airport.

THE head of Newquay’s spaceport bid believes the scheme is still set for lift-off
despite concerns the space programme has stalled following Brexit.

Miles Carden, the Enterprise Zone manager, is confident legislation will be in place to
enable Cornwall Airport Newquay to accommodate the facility and meet the growing interest in satellite deployment, commercial space flights and conducting space experiments.

The Department for Transport was due to publish early in the New Year the Modern
Transport Bill, which will set regulations to allow UK aerodromes to access space and for driverless cars.

But the Government states there is currently no timetable for the introduction of the bill as Parliamentary time has been limited by events such as Brexit and the discussions over
triggering Article 50.

Mr Carden believes the legislation will be forthcoming but has warned if it is left too long spaceports in the UK could be left trailing other countries around the world who are also keen to tap into the growing market for launching small or nano satellites, which could be used for communications such as broadband. It is believed a space tourism industry could follow in years to come so the infrastructure would need to be in place.

Mr Carden believes Newquay is well placed to become the UK’s first spaceport. Mr Carden said: “Our main lead for this is the UK Space Agency and we have not been told anything about a potential delay.

“We are working with the agency with a view to creating a spaceport through the Modern Transport Plan Bill, which will be taken through Parliament this year. We are looking to have the legal and regulatory aspects in place by early next year for a UK spaceport licence.

“This is supposed to go through this year, which includes driverless cars and other things within the bill. I have not heard anything officially that there will be a delay in that process. We are gearing up to take steps forward. There is now no bid process or competition to set up a spaceport. It is more about proving capacity, safety and the business need.

“We are in active discussions with potential operators with a view to collaborating on a
partnership to become the UK’s first spaceport. Hopefully there will not be a delay.

“If the bill is not in place early next year we will want to know when it is going to happen. If it has not happened by next spring it will not have made much of a difference. If it has not happened a year after, then that could become critical.

“At the moment the UK could steal a march creating a spaceport but if there is a delay other countries could tap into the global market. We need the licence sooner rather than later. Hopefully it is only a small delay.”

By Warren Wilkins 1st February 2017

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