In shortlisting possible locations for a spaceport, the UK Space Agency looked for “remote” places where the “uninvolved general public” would be at minimal risk from accidents, where operations within segregated airspace would be feasible, where a 3,000m (10,000ft)-plus runway could be accommodated and which were on the coast, where the weather is most amenable – including those offering take-off into prevailing wind.
The eight locations chosen are: Newquay, Cornwall; Llanbedr, Cambeltown; Glasgow Prestwick and Stornoway airports, the RAF stations at Lossiemouth and Leuchars, and Kinloss Barracks.
Six of those sites are in Scotland, whose voters will in go to the polls in September to choose yay or nay on independence. But when asked if that geographic concentration reflected any hope to sway the country’s imminent independence referendum, UKSA chief Dave Parker said merely that the agency assumed Scotland would remain part of the United Kingdom.
In any case, no site will be actually chosen until well after the vote.