British Space tourism set for lift-off by 2020
Travellers could fly to Space from the UK as soon as 2020 under new laws unveiled this week to capture a share of the £25billion commercial spaceflight market.
The Queen's Speech in May last year announced that the government would bring forward a bill to enable the development of the UK's first commercial spaceports. Suffering a slight delay following Brexit, we are pleased to see that plans are back on track with the launch of this week’s draft Spaceflight Bill.
The bill sets out plans to regulate launch-to-orbit and sub-orbital spaceflight activities from UK spaceports. Newquay in Cornwall, Llanbedr in Snowdonia, and Glasgow Prestwick, Campbeltown and Stornaway in Scotland, have all been shortlisted as potential spaceport sites.
The laws will also permit researchers to carry out biomedical research in orbit on potential new antibiotics and vital scientific experiments on conditions affecting the human body, such as ageing.
We will cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in this emerging market, giving us an opportunity to build on existing strengths in research and innovation,” says Science Minister, Jo Johnson.
What is the market worth?
The global commercial spaceflight market is estimated to be worth up to £25billion over the next 20 years, according to government sources. British Space tourism is expected to be worth £500million for spaceplane operators over the first 10 years of spaceport operations1.
Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Boeing are among those who could take passengers into Space when services go live. A short Virgin Galactic flight costs $250,000.
"We want to see the UK space sector flourish, that is why we are laying the groundwork needed for business to be able to access this lucrative global market," adds Jo Johnson.
Putting money where its mouth is, the UK government has offered grants totalling £10million to help develop spaceflight capabilities, such as building spaceport infrastructure.
How will Blue Abyss support this emerging market?
Blue Abyss will pioneer the world's first facility providing end-to-end services to safely and effectively familiarise and prepare travellers for spaceflight. Tourists will need to prepare for the rigours of launch and return to Earth, and the weightlessness experienced during spaceflight, just as astronauts do.
Services will include neutral buoyancy, parabolic flight and centrifuge training, alongside hyper and hypobaric chambers and a micro-gravity simulation suite, plus the Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre for extreme environment research. Our team of human physiology professionals will deliver medicals and Space environment courses for individuals going into orbit as well as simple familiarisation experiences for sub-orbital customers.
Not only will Blue Abyss house the world’s largest neutral buoyancy pool, but it will offer a wealth of facilities and services to meet the needs of the embryonic commercial human spaceflight market, which will change the nature of society in the years ahead,” says Professor Simon Evetts, Blue Abyss Space Operations Director.
Based in Essex and due to open in 2019, Blue Abyss will be well positioned to support the emerging commercial spaceflight market in the UK and globally.
Experiences for everyone to enjoy!
We will be offering experiences to give everyone a taste of what it’s like to be in Space without the hefty price tag. These will include ground-based spaceflight training, parabolic flights for those wanting to experience ‘weightlessness’ or what it feels like to walk on the Moon. There are even plans for an underwater habitat to simulate a night on Mars aided by virtual reality!
1The UK Satellite Applications Catapult Spaceport UK 2014 Report.
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