Plans to turn Newquay Airport into a spaceport have moved closer to reality after the project was backed by the Government.

In a statement it was announced that the airport successfully secured funding of up to £20 million from Cornwall Council and the UK Space Agency.

The funds would go to Spaceport Cornwall, and American launch operator Virgin Orbit, to enable them to develop their current facilities and operations and allow them to be more involved in space exploration.

The investment is expected to create up to 150 new jobs and give small satellites the ability to launch directly from Newquay within the next few years.

This new technology would enable the UK to compete for a share of the global market for launching small satellites - worth a potential £3.9 billion over the next ten years.

Newquay could directly launch small satellites within the next few years Credit: ITV News

Space is not only about pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, it is a rapidly growing sector of our economy which plays a key role in our modern industrial strategy, promotes Global Britain and ensures our national security.

Greg Clark, Business Secretary

The funding would be made up of £12 million from Cornwall Council, and up to £7.85 million from the UK Space Agency. This would also include a contribution of £0.5 million from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

MP Steve Double praised the decision to award Cornwall the funding, and said that the area was ahead of everywhere else in Europe when it comes to the technology involved.

Newquay airport will soon be the newest site for space innovation in Cornwall Credit: ITV News

We’re well ahead of the game. We're further down the line in achieving this than anywhere else in Europe.

Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay