by Douglas Messier
The Glasgow Prestwick Airport has secured a government investment of £80 million ($104.8 million) to develop as a spaceport.
The funding will support the development of the following elements:
- a horizontal launch facility;
- a 10,000 square foot Aerospace and Space Innovation Centre (ASIC);
- a training hangar with plans for a second hangar;
- site preparation for the construction of up to 350,000 square feet of industrial manufacturing space;
- a visitor/STEM engagement hub; and,
- improvements to the area’s transportation infrastructure to accommodate the new development.
The funding is part of a larger Ayreshire Growth Deal under a cost-sharing arrangement. The UK government will invest £32 million ($41.9 million) in the airport, the Scottish government will contribute £30 million ($39.3 million), and the South Ayrshire Council will spend £18 million ($23.6 million).
“The Aerospace and Space sector employs over 4,000 people in Ayrshire, more than 50% of the sector’s total workforce in Scotland,” according to the Heads of Terms agreement. “With Growth Deal investment it has the opportunity to double this number over ten years.
“It is home to a cluster of global companies including BAE Systems, GE Aviation, Spirit, UTC and Woodward. Both Governments and local partners recognise the current importance and development potential of this sector to the region, Scotland and the UK,” the document added.
“The ASIC will provide “a central hub for the growing aerospace cluster, as well as key facilities and services to encourage growth, supporting aerospace and space businesses in Scotland and the UK. The facilities will focus on business development, skills development and training needs of the Aerospace and Space sector in partnership with local and national higher and further education establishments, including University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland and Ayrshire College,” the document said.
“The Development of Commercial Space project has been formulated to address market failure in the provision of commercial premises at Prestwick, a problem reflected across Scotland. The project is vital in order to capture the economic growth opportunity from the Space and Aerospace sectors,” the agreement stated.