More countries are signing up to become space-faring nations, and they’re not the usual suspects.
Italy and Scotland aren’t countries you’d necessarily associate with outer space, but both have signed agreements that will see space-faring vehicles launch from within their borders in the future.
In July, Virgin Galactic announced a deal with Italy’s two largest aerospace companies to launch paying passengers into space from the country’s soon-to-be-built Grottaglie Spaceport. Altec, a company owned by the Italian Space Agency, and Sitael, the largest private space company in the country, have signed deals with Virgin Galactic. They will work with Sir Richard Branson’s US-based spaceflight company to figure out how the port, located in southern Italy, will operate.
“From the Renaissance to modern space science, Italy has always been a natural home to great innovators and breakthrough ideas which have shaped the human experience,” Branson said in a statement. “I believe Italy’s vision which has led to this collaboration with our Virgin space companies, will provide a real impetus as we strive to open space for the benefit of life on Earth. This partnership could see Virgin Galactic launch the first person in history into space from Italian soil—and in fact from any European territory.”
Also in July, the UK announced its first spaceport will be located in Sutherland, on the north coast of Scotland. The UK Space Agency will invest £2.5 million ($3.3 million) into the site, and the first rocket launches are planned for the early 2020s. The spaceport will aim to profit from the increasingly large market for small satellite launches.
The UK government has claimed the spaceflight market could boost the country’s economy by £3.8 billion ($5 billion) over the next decade, and is planning to build a “horizontal” spaceport elsewhere in the UK, along with the vertical port in Sutherland. Horizontal spaceports use modified commercial airplanes to carry satellites to a certain height before releasing them into orbit.
“As a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, we want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites as part of our Industrial Strategy,” UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said. “The UK’s thriving space industry, research community, and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites.”
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.