Progress on Virgin Galactic Flights from Scotland’s RAF Lossiemouth

SNP PRESS RELEASE

Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP has said he is “delighted” following discussions about the potential for commercial space flight from RAF Lossiemouth in his Moray constituency. He was speaking after meeting with UK Science Minister Lord Drayson and Dr Ian Gibson of the British National Space Centre.

Mr Robertson had arranged the meeting to establish whether there were any legislative or regulatory impediments to space flights into near earth orbit. The leading developer of the ground-breaking technology Virgin Galactic has expressed an interest in operating from RAF Lossiemouth.

Flights would be able to carry both space tourists and launch satellites into orbit.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Robertson said:

“Until recently most people would have thought that commercial space flight was just science fiction. With test flights already underway it is increasingly likely that these flights will be a reality in the next few years.

“Scotland offers the right combination of aeronautical, technical and climactic factors to host these flights and RAF Lossiemouth in Moray is acknowledged as the leading site for operations.

“I am delighted that UK Science Minister Lord Drayson and Dr Ian Gibson of the British National Space Centre are so positive about the potential. What emerged from our meeting is that there are no serious legislative or regulatory impediments to commercial space flight in the UK.

“We now hope that the development of technology by Virgin Galactic and other companies is successful. This would provide a platform for domestic satellite launches as well as space tourism.

“Scotland could very well become a European centre for space launches and this offers tremendous opportunities for scientific, economic and tourism development.

“Public agencies such as the Moray Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise are very interested in exploring these opportunities as is the SNP Scottish Government. Having now had an encouraging meeting with UK Government Science Minister Lord Drayson we should make this opportunity become a reality.”