The UK really wants commercial spaceports. Will they see rockets fly in 2022?

The United Kingdom will start issuing spaceflight licenses this summer, paving the way for the first rockets to launch from British soil next year. The aspiring British spaceports and the rocket builders hope to be the first to loft satellites into orbit from Europe, but how many of them will survive?

The U.K. parliament is establishing regulations that will enable the nation’s Civil Aviation Authority to start issuing licenses to spaceports, as well as rocket and satellite operators, by the end of August. The country, which left the European Union on Jan. 31, 2020, has been encouraging commercial players to develop spaceflight capabilities on the islands since 2014 and originally hoped to see first flights in 2020. It officially launched its commercial spaceflight program, called LaunchUK, in 2017.

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