Space Tourism: UK Is Set to Launch First Commercial Flight to Space by 2020

Feb 22, 2017 10:15 PM EST

The preparation of a legislation that will let private companies launch their satellites and rockets into space from spaceports across the U.K. was unveiled this week. It will be directed by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of its duty for the Modern Transport Bill.

Daily Mail notes that at present, satellites can only be launched into orbit from space stations in the U.S. and India. The Spaceflight Bill was filed in line with U.K.'s goal to be the frontier in the emerging commercial space market.

"We have never launched a spaceflight before from this country. Our ambition is to allow for safe and competitive access to space from the UK, so we remain at the forefront of a new commercial space age, for the next 40 years," Aviation Minister Lord Ahmad said in a press release.

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As mentioned by News Sky, the Spaceflight Bill would not only cement U.K.'s position in the space sector, but would also catapult their economy into new heights as the proposal would allow scientists to conduct experiments in zero gravity.

The experiments would include the development of revolutionary vaccines and antibiotics, among other vital things.

According to the draft presented by the DfT, U.K.'s space industry is currently worth more than £13.7 billion, employing more than 38,500 people directly, and supporting more than 110,000 jobs across the wider economy.

Companies who want to be a part of the plan have until April 15 to submit proposals to the U.K. government. The proposals must consist of at least one potential U.K. spaceport and one small-satellite launch or sub-orbital flight operator. Those who would submit the best proposals that range from space tourism operations, microgravity flights to spaceplanes, would have a $12.5 million subsidies from the government, Inverse reported.

UK is targeting to operationalize the commercial spaceflight market by 2020. Global market for commercial space flights is forecasted to be worth £25 billion over the next 20 years.

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