New Prestwick spaceport deal paves way for passenger liftoff

Prestwick Airport hopes to become the UK's first spaceport. Picture: John Devlin
Prestwick Airport hopes to become the UK's first spaceport. Picture: John Devlin
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Prestwick Airport hopes to eventually launch space flights for passengers under a development deal to be signed today.

The Ayrshire base will complete a partnership agreement with Houston spaceport to help it become the first in the UK.

The tie-up will give Prestwick access to expertise and training from the Texas site and the US space agency Nasa.

The spaceport project is seen by the airport as crucial to its viability after attracting few extra flights since being bought by the Scottish Government for £1 three years ago to avert closure.

It has also had to be propped by state loans which are expected to reach £40 million over the next five years.

In May, the UK Government scrapped plans for a contest for the first spaceport in favour of licensing a site which met the necessary requirements.

The former RAF air base at Machrihanish on Kintyre and Stornoway were among Prestwick’s shortlisted competitors.

A Prestwick Airport spokeswoman said today: “The signing of a partnership agreement will provide access for Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport to knowledge, experience, processes and procedures and training from Houston Spaceport and Nasa.

“This partnership will also provide business opportunities for customers looking for alternative orbital launches.

“Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport customers looking for equatorial/tropical launches will be referred to Houston, and Houston customers looking for polar launches will be referred to Glasgow Prestwick.

As technology develops, this will hopefully lead to point to point opportunities for space flights for passengers.”

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