Spaceport a major boost to Argyll
ARGYLL and Bute will be ‘transformed’ if a bid to build the UK’s first spaceport at Machrihanish is successful, according to the council’s leader.
Dick Walsh made the comment during a visit to the former Ministry of Defence site in Kintyre on Monday, where it was announced the council has entered into a partnership with Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC) for the next stage of bidding. The newly-formed consortium is to be led by MACC subsidiary company, Discover Space UK.
Councillor Walsh said: ‘We are delighted to be a part of the Discover Space UK consortium.
‘As the only shortlisted site to exceed the criteria for runway length and located away from densely populated areas, Machrihanish has a strong case.
‘ With potential for up to 5,000 jobs and multi-billion pound investment in vital infrastructure, this could be truly trans- formational for the area.’ The spaceport is intended to be used to launch both human- carrying flights and commercial satellite missions.
Chairman of MACC and Discover Space UK director, Tom Millar, said: ‘ We are delighted to be working with Argyll and Bute council. The launch campaign really put Discover Space UK on the map and positioned Machrihanish as a serious contender in this process.’
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) welcomed the news of the consortium and will continue to support the bid as it moves into the next phase.
Machrihanish is one of five potential sites expected to receive an invitation to tender from the UK government later this year.
It is hoped that spaceports will become hubs for commercial flights into space, as well as super-fast, round-the-world flights.
Companies involved in developing such technology hope that space planes will eventually be able to fly from the UK to Australia in just two hours.