Scotland could be base for spaceport, says UK government

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Scotland could host the UK's first dedicated base for spaceplanes, according to new government plans.

Ministers want to establish the UK spaceport by 2018 - the first of its kind outside of the US.

Eight aerodromes have been shortlisted and Scotland has six of the potential locations.

The Scottish government said only independence would lead to a greater development of the country's space industry.

For ministers and the space industry, the major interest in a UK spaceport is as a facility to enable satellite launches, but hopefully it would also become a centre for the new tourism initiatives from specialist operators such as Virgin Galactic and XCor.

Ahead of the announcement at this week's Farnborough Airshow, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander hinted that Scotland could become a key player in the UK government's future plans for developing commercial space travel.

He said: "I am delighted that the government is pushing forward with its ambitious plans to open a spaceport in the UK by 2018. Spaceports will be key to us opening up the final frontier of commercial space travel.

"Scotland has a proud association with space exploration. We celebrated Neil Armstrong's Scottish ancestry when he became the first man on the Moon and only last week an amazing Scottish company was responsible for building the UK Space Agency's first satellite.

"The UK space industry is one of our great success stories and I am sure there will be a role for Scotland to play in the future."

Map of aerodromes Spaceplane systems may need runway lengths of 3,000m and more

Earlier this week, UKube-1, a satellite built by Glasgow-based technology firm Clyde Space, successfully launched on a test flight from Kazakhstan.

It was the first ever spacecraft to be fully assembled in Scotland.

Figures from the government show that the space sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK as a whole.

The latest data indicates it is now generating more than £11bn for the economy every year, and employs 34,000 people - an increase of almost 9% on employment figures from 2011.

Ministers hope to capitalise on this growth and capture 10% of the global space market by 2030, which could mean the creation of 100,000 additional jobs.

Skilled jobs

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Our world-leading and ambitious space sector is thriving.

"This week we will announce the next steps for this country's space race, outlining how we will take one giant leap towards establishing the first British spaceport by 2018 - making the UK the place for space."

News of the plan was welcomed by the Scottish government, who also stressed that Scotland's growing space industry would be strengthened by a "Yes" vote on 18 September.

A spokeswomen said: "The space sector offers huge economic potential for Scottish companies, indeed the first Scottish satellite, UKube-1, built by Clyde Space in Glasgow, successfully launched on 8 July.

"It was a landmark occasion and a clear example of the scientific and engineering excellence being demonstrated by Scotland's entrepreneurial innovators.

"That same day a report published by Dr Malcolm Macdonald from Strathclyde Space Institute at Strathclyde University found that independence could be worth £15 million to £20 million a year in the medium term and as much as £100 million a year in the longer term to the space sector industry."

She added: "Scotland is proving that it has the expertise to attract and support such a specialised, global industry, and as such an independent Scotland will be an attractive option for spaceport pioneers."

Ascender and Skylon Ascender and Skylon are UK spaceplane concepts currently in development

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    16:20: Tian Tian 'may have miscarried' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Edinburgh Zoo say they fear that the UK's only female giant panda has suffered a miscarriage.

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    They say there is still a remote chance the panda might give birth this year but the evidence suggests it is more likely to be "bad news."

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    16:10: James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Edinburgh Zoo suggesting Tian Tian may have miscarried. #pandawatch

    16:08: Man denies assaulting MP

    A 39-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to assaulting MP George Galloway in a London street.

    George Galloway

    Neil Masterson, of Campden Hill, Notting Hill, denies assaulting the Respect MP for Bradford West while Mr Galloway was posing for pictures in nearby Golborne Road on Friday.

    The MP is believed to have sustained broken ribs and bruises to his head.

    Mr Masterson appeared at Hammersmith Magistrates' Court and denied religiously aggravated assault.

    15:58: Eccleston joins Thistle

    Partick Thistle have signed former Liverpool and Blackpool striker Nathan Eccleston.

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    The 23-year-old made a handful of substitute appearances for the Anfield club as a youngster but spent much of his time on loan before joining Blackpool in August 2012.

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    15:37: McGeouch signs for Hibs

    Hibernian have signed Celtic winger Dylan McGeouch on a season-long loan.

    The midfielder spent time on loan with Coventry City last season, making eight appearances as a substitute.

    Dylan McGeouch

    The 21-year-old made his Celtic first team debut in 2011 and featured in the champion's Premiership defeat by Inverness CT earlier this month.

    15:28: Salmond and Darling meet voters

    With just over a fortnight to go until the referendum, the leaders of both campaigns have been out and about meeting voters.

    Darling and Salmond

    Speaking in Dundee today, First Minister Alex Salmond said the campaign was about "hearts and minds".

    "Increasing numbers of people who had previously said they would be voting No are now saying Yes," he said.

    "This campaign is about winning the hearts and minds of people across Scotland - and it is the Yes campaign which is succeeding in doing that."

    Better Together leader Alistair Darling said the referendum was a test of "judgement over patriotism".

    Unveiled new campaign posters in Greenock, he added: "Our case to those who are undecided is that we believe the best future, for the love of our families, for the love of our children, for the love of our country, is as a proud and prosperous part of the United Kingdom."

    #ScotlandLive 15:18: Poverty - your views

    Geoff Earl tweets: #ScotlandLive we have tried 2 bring change through the existing UK but our views are ignored by Westminster, time for a new approach YES.

    Hugh Livingston emails: Martin's point about a caring Scottish government is a worthy one. However, we cannot bring about reform of any kind if we don't have a solid financial and economic foundation to build on. Do you really think that the rest of the UK will agree to a currency union that burdens the English, Irish and Welsh with bailing out the Scots if another financial crisis looms?

    James Martin in Glasgow, via email: We cannot work for better across Scotland if we do not have the powers to do so, or the financial levers to direct our money to achieve those goals for people. We do not have the powers to stop such nonsense as the bedroom tax, or those welfare cuts that are unjust. The UK has been the cause of the problems to date, how is it possibly the solution?

    15:09: McArthur to Palace?

    One of the big talking points from transfer deadline day in the English Premiership is James McArthur.

    Could the Scotland international be about to join Crystal Palace from Wigan?

    James McArthur

    Keep up to date with all the madness from the final day on the BBC Sport live blog.

    15:03: Referendum library Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

    Want to read what the opposing sides of the referendum debate have to say on a range of issues related to independence? We've collected some of the key papers together in our referendum library.

    Saltire and Union flags

    Read the papers here.

    Email: 14:55: Poverty - your views

    George Current from Edinburgh in reply to Hugh from Linlithgow on Scotland Live: Agree entirely. We are well up the ladder of devolution, which is a work in progress and has already more powers coming. It doesn't make sense to kick the ladder away and start again.

    David in Glasgow: Hugh from Linlithgow is deluded if he is seriously thinks radical change will ever happen with Westminster. Once we vote No, we have voted against our nationhood, why then should anyone anywhere take Scotland seriously? We will be the laughing stock of the world. Be brave people and vote Yes.

    14:47: Dad jailed for killing son's mugger

    A man who admitted killing a knife-wielding robber who took his son's iPhone has been jailed for six years.

    Derek Grant, 38, confronted Patrick Bradley after the 29-year-old had held up his son Jordan in Greenock on 30 August last year.

    During the confrontation, Bradley stabbed Grant in the eye, after which Grant then fatally stabbed him.

    Grant was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty at the High Court in Livingston to the lesser charge of culpable homicide.

    14:33: The Scotsman

    @TheScotsman tweets: An image of gannets nesting in the Shetland Isles has been revealed as one of the winning pictures in the 2014 British Wildlife Photography Awards.

    Read the full story here.

    #ScotlandLive 14:22: Get involved

    Garry Sneddon tweets: #ScotlandLive Hugh's right that we should be thinking of a clear plan post potential no vote. Once UKIP are in Scotland will be punished.

    Martin in Glasgow emails: Seriously, how can we trust the Westminster government to listen to the people of Scotland now, when they haven't done this for the past 200 years. The only way we can control what happens in Scotland is by having a Scottish government who are more socially conscious and care about all of the society rather than only part of it.

    14:16: Driver jailed over cyclists' deaths

    A lorry driver who killed two cyclists taking part in a charity ride from Land's End to John O'Groats has been jailed for eight and a half years.

    Toby Wallace (left) and Andrew McMenigall

    Robert Palmer, 32, from Grimscott near Bude in Cornwall, pleaded guilty at Truro Crown Court to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

    Palmer also admitted injuring another driver in a crash two months later, while he was on bail over the deaths.

    Andrew McMenigall and Toby Wallace, who both worked for Aberdeen Asset Management, were killed near Newquay in July 2013.

    14:06: Poverty - your views

    Alistair Murdoch in Kilbarchan, in reply to Hugh from Linlithgow: I am not SNP voter but I will vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum. I genuinely don't believe the majority of Yes voters believe that "becoming independent the ruling power will suddenly give them everything they want". There will no doubt be many challenges ahead to establishing a successful independent Scotland but this change will be best done through fair and democratic process from within Scotland. As long as Westminster remains the governing body there will be no appetite to significantly change anything for the better in Scotland. History has clearly demonstrated that being part of something bigger just isn't working for many Scots.

    13:43: NHS send obese to Weight Watchers

    Scotland's largest health board has announced that people who are severely obese will be referred to a commercial weight-loss company.

    The NHS will pay Weight Watchers' membership costs as part of a two-year pilot scheme.

    overweight couple

    Some working in weight-loss management within the NHS have criticised the move as an example of privatisation.

    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the Weight Watchers model was "one which works".

    13:28: Rosyth shipyard visit

    Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker and Scottish Labour Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar will today meet staff at Rosyth shipyard who are working on the UK's new aircraft carriers.

    The visit is aimed at highlighting what Labour claim is the uncertain future of shipyard work if Scotland decides to leave the UK. Labour say the carrier sub-contracts alone are worth £300m to Scottish based companies.

    rosyth docks

    Mr Coaker MP said: "The jobs of thousands of Scots in our defence industry are secured by being part of the UK. They play a critical role in supporting our armed forces and helping to keep us all safe and secure."

    Mr Sarwar added: "We know the SNP will say and do anything to win the vote, setting aside the reality of life in an independent Scotland. The truth is that being part of the UK is good for Scottish jobs but a Yes vote puts those jobs at risk."

  19. 13:24: Your Pictures

    This was the sight which greeted Keith Proven when he ventured up Maspie Den near Falkland for the first time.

    maspie den

    Send us your pictures via email, text 80295 or tweet at #ScotlandLive and we'll use the best.

    13:13: Oil predictions

    The government's Energy Secretary Fergus Ewing has welcomed comments from an expert who said the oil and gas industry will "contribute significantly to the national economy" well beyond 2050.

    Professor Alex Kemp, of the University of Aberdeen, made the observation in the Press and Journal newspaper.

    North sea oil

    Mr Ewing said: "Professor Alex Kemp is one of the world's leading oil economists, wrote the official history of North Sea oil and has detailed modelling on the future of Scotland's oil and gas industry.

    "I thus warmly welcome his prediction that Scotland's oil and gas industry will make a significant contribution well beyond 2050."

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    Email: 12:28: Get involved

    Earlier, we asked whether independence or the Union provided a better opportunity for tackling poverty.

    Hugh from Linlithgow emailed: It's amazing that so many "Yes" voters think that by becoming independent the ruling power will suddenly give them everything they want. We make things better by bringing about change for the better. We can better bring about change by driving it from our existing stable union within the UK. Let's channel everyone's energy from this "invigorating, scintillating and exciting debate" into working for common goals for Scotland and the Scottish people. Not by starting again, but by voting to stay part of something bigger, and working with as much vigour post-18 September as pre, to bring about the changes we want and need.

    Do you agree? Tell us using #ScotlandLive, via email or by texting 80295.

    12:17: 'Cowardly' attack on pensioner

    Police in Stranraer have launched an investigation after a pensioner was attacked and robbed in his home.

    The attack happened at about 23:15 on Saturday in Belmont Road after the 71-year-old answered the door.

    He was confronted by two people who overpowered him, knocked him to the ground and took more than £200.

    Police said the victim was not injured but had been left "shaken and distressed" by what they described as a "cowardly attack".

    12:07: Deadline day deal for Boyd

    Scotland international winger George Boyd has left Hull and joined English Premier League rivals Burnley for an undisclosed fee.

    George Boyd
    11:45: Scotland Live Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Don't forget, by clicking the Scotland Live link, you'll go through to the full live page format with its improved audio, video and picture capabilities.

    Scotland Live screenshot

    We'd also like to know what you think of Scotland Live - you can tell us here.

    11:37: Council chief retiring

    The chief executive of Aberdeenshire Council has announced his retirement.

    Colin Mackenzie

    Colin Mackenzie was appointed to the post in 2008, from his former role as director of housing and social work.

    11:28: Tom English BBC Scotland

    tweets: Celtic have legitimate gripes with Scepovic U-turn, but players pulling out of deals is not unusual. They'll have contingency plans, right?

    Email: 11:22: Medical advice - your views

    Alan Cameron, Aberdeen: The male parent said quite clearly in the released video that he was concerned that seeking other treatment would result in a Protection Order. So that was why he and his family went abroad. The police are damned if they do, and damned if they don't do anything. The police are not medical experts and simply act (or not) on what they are told. The question for the hospital is why there was a six hour gap in the child going missing and the report to police. One could then argue that had there been adequate staff resources to notice the empty bed, then maybe this situation would not have been reached in the first place.

    11:12: When Andy met the Anchorman

    Actor Will Ferrell is one of the celebrity fans enjoying the tennis at the US Open.

    As Ron Burgundy, Ferrell is known for is immaculate suits and salon-quality hair.

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    When he met up with Andy Murray, he questioned the Dunblane-born sportsman's fashion credentials.

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    Email: 11:04: Get involved

    As the referendum campaign reaches its climax, Good Morning Scotland's Gary Robertson is touring Scotland to highlight the big issues and get the views of voters.

    This morning he was in the east end of Glasgow, which has some of Scotland's - and indeed the UK's - most deprived areas. Poverty and how to tackle it has been one of the biggest areas of debate in the lead up to the independence ballot on 18 September.

    We want to hear what you think. How best should we tackle poverty in our communities? And is independence the best way to achieve change?

    Tell us using #ScotlandLive, by emailing or texting 80295.

    10:57: Lift in the lurch

    Seven hotel guests had to spend part of the night trapped in a lift in Shetland.

    The fire and rescue service were called to a hotel in Lerwick to help free the guests from the elevator in the early hours of this morning.

    10:43: Medical advice - your views

    Sheila Ferguson in reply to Lee Wootton on Scotland Live: A child with his parents cannot possibly count as abduction. They are his legal guardians. Everyone in the UK has the right to discharge themselves "AMA" - against medical advice. Do you want to take this right away? This case has got ridiculously out of hand. In the parents' eyes the doctors refused to give the child the optimal treatment for his cancer so they took him somewhere else to get it. How many charity appeals have you seen/given to - to take children to the US for instance - for "different" or "better" treatment?

    10:36: Robson to Ross County?

    After former Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert was linked with the vacant manager's job at Ross Country, Aberdeen midfielder Barry Robson has played down his chances of becoming the new man in charge at the Highlands club.

    Barry Robson

    Watch the former Celtic star discuss the speculation on BBC Scotland's Sportscene.

    Email: 10:27: Medical advice - your views

    Lee Wooton: Can I just point something out to all those who are complaining about "police state"? This child was taken from the hospital without asking, against medical advice across Europe to a medical service that's recognised as being of lower quality than the NHS. If the hospital had not raised the alarm, I guarantee that many of the people complaining about heavy handedness would be complaining about the NHS letting a chid be abducted. Can we please stop complaining about doctors and nurses who worry about the wellbeing of a child and and recognise that the parents had a hand in things getting this far.

    10:23: The Courier

    @thecourieruk tweets: Philippines trio could face trial over claims they drove Fife teenager to suicide.

    Read the full story here.

    10:19: Inverness road closure BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    The B9039 at the Dalcross to Inverness Airport junction has been closed due to a two-vehicle accident.

    Emergency services are at the scene and diversions are being put in place.

    10:10: Food and drink jobs hope

    Nearly 10,000 additional jobs could be created in Scotland's food and drink sector over the next five years, according to a new report.

    Glass of whisky

    The Bank of Scotland found three-quarters of food and drink businesses it surveyed were forecasting up to 15% growth in the next five years.

    Two-thirds said they were expecting to increase their workforce by 2019.

    Text 80295 10:01: Medical advice - your views

    Norrie: We are fast becoming a Police State - chasing parents who did nothing wrong in taking their child out of hospital AND routinely arming police officers on our streets without the consent of the people. This has to stop.

    Patricia: Let this family be with this little confused little boy. What if this little boy dies without his family being with him - who will be responsible for this? This family were living in the moment of hope.

    Moira: It is easy to demonise doctors and the NHS because we want them to get it right every time. Resources and knowledge are finite and sometimes bad news is so painful that you block out the worst news you could possibly have. The little boy's story is a tragedy for him and his parents and no one will be more aware if that than the medics treating him.

    09:52: Wood you believe it?

    The annual Scottish Open Chainsaw Carving Championships - also known as Carve Carr-Bridge - was held on Saturday at Carrbridge in the Cairngorms National Park.

    Pete Bowsher and carved cowboy

    Moffat-based Pete Bowsher won the coveted Claymore Trophy for the second year in a row with his cowboy carving, I Told You To Draw. See more pictures here.

    Email: 09:46: Your pictures

    Kirsi Sutherland grabbed this spectacular shot last night at the end of the fireworks display marking the end of the Edinburgh festival.

    edinburgh fireworks

    You can send us your pictures via email, text 80295 or tweet at #ScotlandLive and we'll use the best.

    09:37: Transfer Deadline Day Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

    Today is the day many football fans across the country have been waiting for.

    At 23:00, the summer transfer window for clubs in Scotland and England closes.

    Expect high drama, stressed out managers speaking to journalists through their car windows, and taxi drivers telling anyone who will listen that Messi is on his way to Glasgow.

    Perhaps not. Follow all the twists and turns throughout the day on BBC Sport.

    09:25: Tsonga 'less afraid' of Murray

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray's opponent in the US Open later today, has said he is boosted by the Scot's uncertain form.

    Jo Wilfred Tsonga

    Ahead of the fourth round match at Flushing Meadows, the Frenchman said: "The locker room is maybe a bit less afraid of Andy because he's losing a few more matches than in the past."

    Text 80295 09:16: Medical advice - your views

    Maureen in Aberdeen: It's a disgrace the way the parents have been treated - the NHS is OK, but only OK. Who wouldn't go to the ends of the earth for their child? Doctors are not God, how dare they act as if they own someone's body and soul!

    H in Edinburgh: The little boy's parents could have sought a second opinion etc leaving their little boy safely in hospital. They put their wee boy in grave danger exposing him to germs and infections.

    09:05: What the papers say

    Today's front pages don't just feature the referendum.

    The Scotsman's splash says banning the return of British jihadis to the UK could be illegal, while The Daily Record leads with a former soldier who says the 13-year operation in Afghanistan achieved nothing.


    Back on the referendum beat, The Herald warns of polling station clashes as tensions rise. Read our full review here.

    08:55: A question of energy

    What might a "Yes" vote in the referendum mean for energy policy?


    BBC Scotland's environment correspondent David Miller has been finding out as part of our Daily Question series in the lead up to 18 September.

    You can read his analysis here.

    08:45: Rise in skin cancer cases

    Skin cancer cases have increased two-and-a-half fold over the last 30 years - but survival rates have also soared, according to researchers from Glasgow.

    Researchers from the Alan Lyell Centre for Dermatology in Glasgow found a significant rise in cases since 1990.


    But they also noted that 85% per cent of men and 90% of women now survive for at least five years after diagnosis.

    Scientists say more affordable foreign holidays, sunbeds and an ageing population is contributing to the increase in skin cancer.

    08:32: All the sporting gossip

    Sporting Gijon's Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic has pulled out of a £2.4m move to Celtic at the last minute, while Celtic have told defender Virgil van Dijk he will not be allowed to leave on deadline day.

    Elsewhere, former Ajax striker Patrick Kluivert has "110%" ruled himself out of the running for the manager's job at Ross County.

    Steven Gallcher

    And in golf, Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie have backed Scotland's Stephen Gallacher for a wildcard slot in the Ryder Cup team after he missed out on automatic qualification.

    Read more of today's sporting gossip here.

    08:22: Morning Call

    This morning we're talking about the couple who took their five-year-old son Ashya, who has a brain tumour, from a hospital in Southampton. Brett and Naghemeh King face extradition to the UK after being arrested in Malaga.

    Louise asks: Would you challenge medical advice when it comes to your child?

    Louise White

    Elsewhere, with the Scottish Paranormal Festival about to start - are too quick to dismiss the paranormal?

    Lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00, text 80295 or email

    08:15: Weather update BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Dry and bright with good sunny spells developing, the best in the south and east. The north west and Shetland will be cloudier with an odd very light shower. Winds will be light.

    Temperatures will reach 19 or 20C in the Borders, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen. It will be 17 or 18C in Stornoway, Glasgow and Dumfries and closer to 15C in Shetland.

    You can see a full forecast at BBC Weather.

    08:09: Registration deadline looms

    Both independence referendum campaigns have urged people to register to vote if they have not already done so.

    Residents have until midnight on Tuesday to ensure they can take part in this month's ballot.

    Ballot box

    Voter registration in Scotland has already reached record levels, with more than 4.1 million people listed on the electoral roll.

    07:58: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live. We'll be here till 18:00 with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the country.

    You can keep in touch on Twitter using #ScotlandLive, via email or by text on 80295.



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