Space­port a ma­jor boost to Ar­gyll

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­times.co.uk

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.

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