Virgin Eyes Dubai, Scotland as Possible Spaceport Locations

WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo (credit: Virgin Galactic)
WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic is in “advanced discussions” with investors in Dubai about creating a spaceport there for launches of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle.

The National reports:

Stephen Attenborough, commercial director of the company, said the final location for the regional centre was yet to be decided and discussions were also under way with parties in countries including Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“We’d really like one of the spaceports to be in the Middle East and that’s why we are starting serious discussions, and actually quite advanced discussions, with the UAE and other Gulf governments and investor groups,” he said. An announcement on the location would probably come before the autumn and operational flights within the next five years was “not an unreasonable prediction”, he said.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Virgin Galactic could be flying out of Scotland in about five years:

Virgin Galactic chiefs have earmarked RAF Lossiemouth for flights from 2014.

But the firm’s president, Will Whitehorn, said: “We need two or three years of operations elsewhere under our belt first.”