LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will set out powers this week which would allow the launch of space satellites from the country for the first time, the government said on Monday.
Draft legislation, which will also allow for horizontal flights to the edge of space for scientific experiments and the establishment of space ports around Britain, will set out rules and regulations for the sector.
The bill will be introduced to parliament later this year, with specific regulations over issues such as safety and insurance measures to be developed for commercial operators.
Along with funding for commercial space businesses looking to create space launches in Britain, the government said the new powers could see a commercial spaceflight from a UK space port possible by 2020.
"We have never launched a spaceflight before from this country. Our ambition is to allow for safe and competitive access to space from the UK, so we remain at the forefront of a new commercial space age," aviation minister Tariq Ahmad said in a statement.
British businesses currently have to use launch services in other countries, including the United States and Japan.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Susan Thomas)