Officials in Scotland have thrown in the towel on their effort to convince the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to reconsider its decision to eliminate RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks from the list of possible UK spaceports.
The Moray Economic Partnership (MEP) led the local fight to convince the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to put Lossiemouth and Kinloss back in the running.
But a spokesman for the partnership said yesterday: “After consulting with our MP Angus Robertson and after further communications with the Ministry of Defence, we have sadly taken the decision to put our bid for a spaceport for Moray on hold.
Reports out of the cloud shrouded island of Britain indicate that the government wants to easy liability laws that have discouraged space tourism companies from operating out of the United Kingdom:
The 1986 Outer Space Act is the primary piece of legislation in Britain governing all matters to do with space activity. Commentators have long called for it to be updated, especially in relation to the liabilities that cover space operations – if there was an accident involving a British spacecraft, for example.
At the moment, liabilities are essentially unlimited and this makes insurance premiums much more expensive for UK companies than their international competitors.
At a space tourism conference last week in London, Virgin Galactic CEO Will Whitehorn said the UK needed to make regulatory changes before his company would consider basing space tourism flights out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
The Times reports that the government was warned about this problem years ago but has taken no action: (more…)
Fury over â€˜lost opportunityâ€™ of space tourism conference The Press and Journal
A furious councillor yesterday accused Moray Councilâ€™s administration of a lack of vision after it decided not to send representatives to an upcoming space tourism conference. Members of the planning and regulatory services committee had been due to decide who would attend next weekâ€™s event, which will include a talk on Virgin Galacticâ€™s possible collaboration with RAF Lossiemouth.
Reaching for the stars will soon be a reality in Lossie The Northern Scot
The company, which is developing its White Knight shuttle craft in America, has expressed an interest in establishing a mission control here in Moray from which it would take space tourists to an altitude of 110km in a MAC 3 climb, to experience 15 minutes of zero gravity as they look down on earth.
Westminster SNP Leader Angus Robertson MP has said he is â€œdelightedâ€ 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.