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Britain’s space industry is flourishing – producing technologies critical to telecoms, robotics, Earth observation and more, as Mark Broadbent reports

Space matters in Britain. According to the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the space sector employs more than 45,000 people, and generated £16.4bn in revenues in 2018/19.

Work to establish the UK’s spaceport inevitably attracts the bulk of the attention. A UKSA spokesperson told AIR International: “Our ambition is for the first UK launches to take place from 2022 and we have already put in place the Space Industry Act 2018 –a flexible high-level regulatory framework.

“Following the public consultation and the government response setting out next steps, the draft space industry regulations were laid before Parliament on May 24, 2021, and we anticipate these will come into force in summer 2021.”

This key piece of legislation will enable Britain’s seven aspiring spaceports (in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall) to apply for Civil Aviation Authority operating licences, and spaceflight operators to apply for UKSA launch permits.

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