The US may have been the first country to open a commercial spaceport, but the UK is doing its best to make sure it can open the first one in Europe. Those plans have taken another step forward thanks to backing from the government.
Government support was confirmed following the publication of a three month consultation into the possibility of making commercial spaceflight operations in the UK. Apparently everything is on track to have the spaceport open by 2018, though the government has yet to decide where the spaceport will call home.
Of the shortlisted sites announced last July, the government has already ruled out RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks in Scotland due to their role in national defence. That means the locations still in the running are Stornoway, Glasgow Prestwick, and Campbeltown in Scotland, along with Newquay and the Welsh town of Llanbedr.
So what now? Apparently the Department of Transport has to draw up a list of requirements for potential spaceports, and will then ask the relevant parties to submit their proposals. When that will be is unclear, but the specification details are set to be published sometime before the end of the year. [Gov.uk via Engadget]