Virgin Galactic campaign for UK spaceport gets heavyweight backing

Virgin Galactic campaign for UK spaceport gets heavyweight backing

Virgin Galatic’s attempt to launch its space tourism venture from a UK base has been given heavyweight public and private sector backing.

A joint industry and government report led by Andy Green, chief executive of Logica, the IT group, is supporting Virgin Galactic’s campaign to bring space tourism to the masses from a UK base, with RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland named as the preferred site.

Green says that allowing Virgin Galactic to launch from the UK would stimulate jobs and investment in the country’s £7 billion-a-year space industry.

His report will argue that the sector should aim to boost its share of the global market to 10% from 6.5%, and create 70,000 UK jobs.

The Innovation and Growth Team (IGT) report will say that space is one of Britain’s hidden success stories, with average growth of 9% a year.

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Lord Drayson, the science minister, is already campaigning for a British space agency. Green will challenge the government to double its £265m space budget, in part by diverting cash from security and environmental budgets.