To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department is making in delivering the proposed spaceport in (a) Cornwall and (b) Sutherland.
The UK Space Agency is monitoring progress across all potential UK spaceports, and are aiming for the first UK launches to take place in 2022.
UK Space Agency awarded £7.35m to Virgin Orbit to support their plans to launch from Cornwall, with the spaceport being delivered separately by Spaceport Cornwall. The UK Space Agency engage regularly with Cornwall Spaceport as part of their oversight of the Virgin Orbit grant and they have recently finalised their Airport Development Implementation Plan for approval. Once approved, works can commence on airport development to meet the requirements for launch operations.
The Government also provided £2.5m to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to develop Space Hub Sutherland in Scotland, and £5.5m to Orbex to build a new rocket to launch from Sutherland. HIE have successfully secured planning approval from Highland Council, and Orbex are making good progress with developing their launch vehicle.