What are spaceports and are there any spaceports planned for the UK?

Welcome to the future of space travel!

Have you ever imagined being an astronaut? Experiencing weightlessness as you orbit the Earth? Maybe visiting a neighbouring planet?

Well, in the near future everyone on Earth might have a chance to go into space – and fly in the same way as they travel by air from airports!

That’s all thanks to a different type of airport that called a spaceport – some are being planned right now in the UK!

It could open up a new frontier for Earth-dwellers, where only 550 people have ever exited Earth’s atmosphere…

That’s because for decades space exploration has been run by Governments, so members of the public haven’t really had chance to go to space.

Besides, designing, developing, and launching a rocket is a really expensive job and not everyone has the money to spend on their own private rocket launch… But things are set to change!

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You might have seen on the news that there are commercial companies developing technology to offer sub-orbital flights for ordinary people.

One is a company called Virgin Galactic which is owned by a guy called Richard Branson. Another is Space X, owned by someone called Elon Musk.

Click here to find out more about rocket flights around Earth!

In fact, there’s a whole bunch of companies working on ways to get people into space.

Commercial space launches are already taking place all the time across Earth – but most don’t involve people at all. Some will be carrying astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.

One big problem facing any launch – whether for people, supplies, or even satellites – is that you need a lot of power to get out of the Earth’s gravitational pull.

Plus you can’t launch from anywhere! That’s where these things called spaceports come in. At the moment you have to go to America or Russia, or even Australia or Brazil to get up to space…

It would be much simpler – and cheaper – if space companies could send up their spacecraft closer to where they’re built. The British Government wants the UK to be the first country in Europe from which commercial flights can be launched.

However, what spaceports will look like and where they’ll be are questions which haven’t been answered yet…

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 Deep Space High: Spaceports, with support from the UK Space Agency.

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