SNP call for talks on space flights

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The Independent Online

The SNP has called for talks with the UK Government over the prospect of a commercial space flight from an RAF base.

Nationalist Westminster leader Angus Robertson wants to meet with Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson over proposals for a commercial space flight from Scotland.

Virgin Atlantic have identified RAF Lossiemouth in Mr Robertson's Moray constituency as a potential base for the UK's first commercial space enterprise.

"The prospect of space flight from Scotland is a serious and exciting one," Mr Robertson said.

"Virgin Galactic proposals are an iconic and inspirational opportunity, which would bring technology investment, jobs and tourism, as well as science and educational opportunities.

"I am keen to meet with the science and innovation minister, Lord Drayson, and discuss in detail how this cutting edge project can be taken forward."

Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn gave the Moray lecture in Lossiemouth about commercial space flight earlier this month.

He said that wealthy space tourists could be blasting off from an RAF air base in the north east within five years, but that Machrihanish in Argyll and an air base in south-west England were also suitable.

Mr Robertson added: "Other countries are keen to be at the front of the queue and I would like to see Moray remain front-runner.

"It would be a mistake to underestimate the tremendous potential of these flights which will probably also launch satellites into orbit as well as offering tourist flights into near Earth orbit."