22/05/2012

NI Possible Spaceport Construction Location

Northern Ireland could soon be hosting the construction of the UK's first spaceport, according to a new report into the UK space industry.

The report, from the Institute of Directors (IoD), examined the growth and potential of the £8billion space sector, currently supporting 85,000 jobs, and has put Northern Ireland forward as possible location for this groundbreaking project.

Should the province get the green light, it would go a long way to support the local economy through tourism in the long run, but first and foremost it would provide extensive employment for those involved in the local construction sector.
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The former RAF Aldergrove in County Antrim was the last remaining military base with a runway in Northern Ireland and could be the ideal location for construction to begin.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in Northern Ireland said they were not aware of the IoD report when contacted by the BBC but did advise that any decision about the construction of a spaceport would have to be taken to a national government level.

Dan Lewis, the chief executive of the Economic Policy Centre who penned the report said that the UK space industry was "a real success story" which had created a "large number of highly skilled jobs".

Mr Lewis said the construction of a spaceport was "the logical next step" to grow the sector even further. He continued that it would be a key piece of infrastructure, providing a hub for space tourism, research and development.

(HMc)

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