UK to be first country in Europe able to launch spacecraft and satellites from home soil


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has passed new  spaceflight regulations, paving the way for spaceflight and satellite launches from UK soil.

The legislation provides the framework to regulate the UK space industry and enable launches to take place from British soil for the first time. The government predicts it will unlock a potential £4 billion of market opportunities over the next decade, creating thousands of jobs across the UK.

This also puts the UK in a unique position as the first country in Europe able to launch spacecraft and satellites from home soil. This could lead to better monitoring of climate change, as well as improved data for satellite navigation systems.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This is the ‘blast off’ moment for the UK’s thriving space industry, demonstrating government’s commitment to put Britain at the global forefront of this sector.

“These regulations will help create new jobs and bring economic benefits to communities and organisations right across the UK, helping us to level up as we inspire the next generation of space scientists and engineers.”

The announcement comes alongside the formal appointment of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as the industry regulator.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The first satellite launches from UK spaceports in 2022 will be a remarkable moment – and these new regulations have taken us a step closer to being the first country in Europe to achieve lift-off from home soil.”