Moray bid for Spaceport beckons as Virgin Galactic look on

Richard Branson – Virgin Galactic watching UK progress

The task force formed to produce Moray’s response to plans by the UK Government to create a Spaceport are expecting to report early next month.

A group led by the Moray Economic Partnership and backed by Moray Council were given the job of putting the case for Moray as a base for the Europe’s first Spaceport after the government named Kinloss Barracks and RAF Lossiemouth as being on a shortlist for the project.

With an estimated £400billion value to the economy of the region that becomes home to the project Moray councillors are determined that everything possible should be done to highlight the clear advantages of the region.

[box] ….”the current UK Government space initiatives are noteworthy and comprehensive in their thoughtful approach to space.”[/box] The UK Government have said that a future Spaceport could be used to launch satellites into orbit – but us as a base for space tourism appeared to be some way off.However, Virgin Galactic, who are well on the way to operating passenger flights into space from their New Mexico Spaceport, say that they have noted the UK Government plans and remain interested in operating outside the United States in the future.

A spokeswoman said: “Virgin Galactic is focussed on beginning commercial operations from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

“As it has long stated the company remains interested in operating outside of the US at some point – the current UK Government space initiatives are noteworthy and comprehensive in their thoughtful approach to space industry expansion.”

A long standing supporter of Moray as the base for the UK’s Spaceport, Elgin South councillor Graham Leadbitter, is calling on people in the region to get behind what they might have thought previously was a fanciful idea.

Councillor Leadbitter said: “People have been sceptical about this but it is becoming ever more clear that this is a serious possibility and we need to grab it with both hands.

“I’m pleased that the Moray Economic Partnership and Moray Council are backing the idea and hope that people get behind us.”

The UK Government have opened consultations on the location of the future Spaceport with Moray’s submission expected to be made on October 6.

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