XCOR, Virgin Galactic Respond to UK Spaceport Plan

Credit: CAA
Possible UK spaceports (Credit: CAA)

BBC News science correspondent Jonathan Amos has some reactions from XCOR and Virgin Galactic to the UK’s plan to construct a spaceport:

“We expect to start our flight test programme in Q1 of 2015 and be taking people up at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016,” said Xcor president Andrew Nelson.

“We could fly out of Scotland, but we like the look particularly of Newquay. It’s excellent that the UK is investigating this because it can only help the market to grow.”


George Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic, said his company was concentrating at the moment on getting its US operation into service, but added that he was very impressed with the British attitude.

“The rigour with which the UK government has approached this general issue of commercial spaceflight – both crewed and uncrewed – is very exciting,” he told me. “The level of analysis, and cross-agency examination, suggests this is being taken very seriously, and it will happen.”

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  • Scott

    According to the lease agreement with New Mexico, Virgin Galactic can only fly from Spaceport America for many years to come without the consent of New Mexico.

  • Aerospike

    I guess that is only concerning other US launch locations. Virgin Galactic already has agreements with UAE and Sweden to launch from those countries “sometime in the future”.

  • Curious_guest

    No, they have declared interest. That’s not the same as launch plans (or permissions). God only knows what Branson promised New Mexico in return for the spaceport. Anyway, VG is on a fixed $1 million lease for Spaceport America the next 5 years, so they are likely to use it as much as possible (after that it’s a per use agreement).