Plans for the Prestwick Spaceport have taken a significant step forward as South Ayrshire Council has started the process of submitting a formal planning application for the development.

The Proposal of Application Notice is the first step in the planning process for Prestwick Spaceport and signals the intent of the council to apply for planning permission in early 2022.

Launches from Prestwick Spaceport will involve horizontal launch, where an aircraft will carry a rocket containing small satellites a long distance to high altitude above the ocean.

Once safely beyond inhabited areas, the rocket leaves the aircraft, ignites its engines, and carries its payload to orbit.

Launch operations at Prestwick will consist of processing rockets and their payloads, loading them on to a launch aircraft, and conventional take-offs from the existing runways.

Prestwick is aiming to conduct its first rocket launch by the end of 2023, and the development is expected to create as many as 4,000 jobs for the local economy.