Smart Transport

Government paves way for UK commercial space flights from 2022

The Government is paving the way for satellites and rockets to be launched in the UK in Cornwall, Wales and Scotland from 2022.

New regulations are being developed with the UK Space Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority to remove barriers for starting commercial space flights.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Since the start of the spaceflight programme in 2017, we have been clear that we want to be the first country to launch into orbit from Europe.

“The laying of these regulations puts us firmly on track to see the first UK launches take place from 2022, unlocking a new era in commercial spaceflight for all four corners of our nation.”

The legislation will come into force this summer and the Government hopes it will help boost the development of commercial spaceflight technologies, from traditional rockets to high-altitude balloons and spaceplanes.

Future plans include allowing sub-orbital space tourism, as well as mew transport systems like hypersonic flight.

Tests have already taken place in the US that see hypersonic aircraft, powered with carbon neutral produced aviation fuel, fly over 1,000mph, which would cut London to New York flight times to 3 hours 30 minutes.

The DfT said UK spaceport launches will help create jobs, inspire the next generation of space scientists and help to attract investment for the UK from companies around the world.

Science minister Amanda Solloway said: "Continuing to grow the UK's launch capability will help bring jobs and economic benefits across the UK.

"The Space Industry Regulations will create a supportive, attractive and safe environment for commercial spaceflight.

"Today marks another crucial milestone that will enable the first launches from British soil in 2022 and make UK commercial spaceflight a reality."

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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