It is all about self-sufficiency. Britain has plans to pursue commercial, sub-orbital Space launches. To fulfil the objective, the country wants a spaceport. They have linked up with an East Anglian firm Gravitilab Aerospace Services, and have identified a probable location and a possible timeframe to start its commercial operations. The facility could come up in the Western Isles at Scolpaig in 2022.

The launch of a commercial rocket from the UK took place from the site much before the planned opening of the spaceport. The rocket's name is ADA, and it blasted off from Benbecula Airport in the Western Isles.

Choosing the name of ADA is significant. Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician of the 19th century and the world's first computer programmer. Mark Roberts is the program director of Spaceport 1. He says: "This is a historic moment for Spaceport 1, the Outer Hebrides, Scotland and the UK." Gravitilab intends to provide greater access to space through services like reliable and affordable microgravity research. It has zeroed on ADA, the first rocket designed by the company for this purpose. In January 2018, there was news about the construction of SpaceX spaceport in Texas. Some countries have advanced greatly in the highly specialized field of space research, and Britain wants to remain relevant.

The setup would help the UK to undertake space flights and satellite launches

Rules and regulations are necessary to control the space industry. The Department of Transport DfT talks about huge market opportunities in this sector over the next decade. Once finalized, Britain can undertake space flights and satellite launches on its own.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Gravitilab Aerospace technical director Rob Adlard says: "Everything from climate change science and driverless cars needs assets in space.” He adds that the small satellites have the potential to be game-changers. That would mean an improvement in UK's position vis-vis the global space sector. In July 2018, a media report mentioned a possible tie-up between NASA and the UK to launch a space station to orbit the Moon. There are some sites in Scotland and Cornwall under consideration.

Boris Johnson wants to launch a space rocket from Scotland by 2022

According to the BBC, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will launch a space rocket from Scotland by 2022. On defense spending, he dwelt on a “space command” to be run by the RAF. He also mentioned launching a satellite using a rocket made by the UK. He wants it launched from a site in Scotland by 2022. It seemed in 2020, Moine Peninsula in Sutherland received permission to build the facility. However, aerospace companies felt Scotland was more suitable. After months of investigations, the decision was taken to construct one launch site at Scolpaig in Scotland. Another location earmarked was Shetland.

An important criterion for a spaceport

The BBC adds there are several factors to be considered to set up a facility like a spaceport. There are two types of launch sites – the horizontal and the vertical. One of the airports wanted to go in for a horizontal version because it already had a long concrete runway. Its positives were "coastal take-offs, favorable weather conditions, and excellent transport connections." Ease of travel is always a vital aspect because people and equipment have to always be on the move. The trajectory should avoid inhabited areas of land since falling debris could endanger lives and properties. Moreover, the sites must be far away from active oil and gas exploration areas. It is also necessary to ensure the least impact on vulnerable protected areas. Obviously, while selecting the ideal location of the launch site, take care of these factors.