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Giant leap for UK spaceflight programme as consultation launches

Wednesday July 29th, 2020

A public consultation on regulations that will support the Space Industry Act 2018 opens today, paving the way for the UK’s first ever space launch.UK

consultation on the rules governing UK spaceflight launches today

first ever launch into space could have lift-off by the early 2020s

Civil Aviation Authority to become the commercial spaceflight regulator

The first ever launch into space from British soil is one step closer today (29 July 2020) as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces a public consultation on the regulations for the UK’s spaceflight programme.

The regulations to support the Space Industry Act 2018 will enable a range of commercial spaceflight and associated activities to take place in the UK, including from any of the 7 proposed spaceports in South West England, Scotland and Wales, paving the way for the UK’s first ever space launch.

Government and industry have set a target to grow the UK’s share of the global space market to 10% by 2030 with the government having already awarded grants totalling nearly £40 million to establish commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch from UK spaceports.

Today’s consultation is part of the necessary regulation to enable the first launches to take place in the early 2020s.

In parallel to the development of a new UK Space Strategy, the government has been engaging with industry and providing grant funding to stimulate the UK launch market, and developing international agreements.

On 16 June (2020), the UK and US governments signed the Technology Safeguards Agreement. This paves the way for US companies to operate from UK spaceports and export space launch technology.

The spaceflight regulator role will also be handed over from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), who will ensure that spaceflight and associated activities are carried out safely and responsibly.

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