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UK MPs Urged to Back Space Tourism

Published by Rob on Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:51 pm
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Article by Spacefellowship.com reporter Robert Goldsmith; The British Space company Virgin Galactic has urged the Government to allow it to fly from the UK.

Virgin Galactic said that if the Government failed to support this and create new legislation then “We would lose a massive opportunity” There had been speculation earlier this year that Virgin Galactic wanted to fly passenger flights from the UK with MoD bases in Cornwall and Scotland being suggested.

Virgin Galactic was founded by Richard Branson and his team plan to start flights as early as 2008.

Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn told MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee that RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, would be the “ideal location” or St Mawgan in Cornwall.

“We need to have a legislative background in the UK that would allow this type of flight to take place here or we will lose a massive opportunity,” he said.

The US has passed such legislation and it was in the US that Scaled Composites launched SpaceShipOne the predecessor to the Virgin Galactic fleet. Sweden is committed to investigating flights from one of its sites, a trip through the Aurora has even been suggested.

Whitehorn said “We would like to operate here (The UK) but at the moment there is no body and no locus to allow us to do it.” Then he added the “biggest challenge” of flying from the UK was the weather.

The base in Cornwall is being touted in summer months as it has a large runway and cleared military airspace for re-entry.

Furthermore, Virgin Galactic this week signed a memorandum with NASA for potential collaborations in technology development, read here.

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