SWINDON cash will help build the UK’s first ever space port.

The UK Space Agency, which is headquartered off North Star Avenue, is giving £2.5 million towards the project.

Ministers hope the vertical launch site in the Scottish Highlands will put rocket boosters beneath the private spaceflight market.

Graham Turnock, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Low cost access to space is important for the UK’s thriving space sector which builds more small satellites than any other country, with Glasgow building more than any other city in Europe.

“This spaceport grant will help to kick-start an exciting new era for the UK space industry, and this is only the beginning of our LaunchUK campaign. We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the UK, and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here.”

“A number of sites across the UK are developing their spaceport plans and engaging with regulators, demonstrating the scale of the industry’s ambition and confidence in a future UK spaceflight market, which could attract companies from all over the world to invest in Britain.”

Chris Grayling, secretary of state for transport, said: “The space sector is an important player in the UK’s economy and our recent Space Industry Act has unlocked the potential for hundreds of new jobs and billions of revenue for British business across the country.”

A £2m fund will also back spaceflight projects elsewhere in the country.