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Shortlist for UK spaceport location announced at air show

Meanwhile, hopes remain that the F-35 can still appear later in the week

 

Farnborough Air Show has been used as the venue to announce the shortlist of locations for Britan's first spaceport.

The government announced on Tuesday at Farnborough Airport that space tourists could be blasting off from one of eight venues in just four years' time.

Six of the shortlisted sites - Campbeltown Airport, Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Kinloss Barracks, RAF Leuchars, RAF Lossiemouth and Stornorway Airport - are in Scotland with the other two being Llanbedr Airport in Wales and Newquay Cornwall Airport in the south west.

Speaking at the air show, aviation minister Robert Goodwill said: "In order to lead the way on commercial space flight, we will need to establish a spaceport that enables us to operate regular flights.

"The work published today has got the ball rolling - now we want to work with others to take forward this exciting project and have Britain's first spaceport up and running by 2018."

During the announcement, the government said it hoped to have 10% of the space tourism market by 2030, which could attract operators such as Virgin Galactic and XCor, bringing 100,000 jobs and £40bn.

Meanwhile, the manufacturer of the F-35 has announced that its new fighter has been cleared to fly by the American Navy and Air Force.

A spokesman for Lockheed Martin said the plane had "limited flight clearance that includes an engine inspection", which would remain in place until the cause of last month's runway fire that left the aircraft grounded is identified.

However, they added: "We remain hopeful that the F-35 can make an appearance at the Farnborough Air Show. This [latest] information is an encouraging step, but no final decision has been made at this time."

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