The group behind plans to create an aerospace museum in Moray are one small step closer to building Europe's first space port after winning £15,000 of EU funding for a feasibility study.
The Morayvia group say that they hope the study will help complete their business case for Virgin Galactic to locate a UK Space Port in Lossiemouth.
Lossiemouth has been suggested as a potential site for a European base since 2006, now the group hope that the EU Leader funding they have secured will help regenerate the idea.
Morayvia vice-chairman Stan Barber said: "One thread of Morayvia would be space tourism if Richard Branson brought the launch centre here to Lossiemouth.
"We've just had confirmation of the EU Leader funding being approved. We plan to have the feasibility study finished by January 2013.”
Mr Barbour added that Virgin Galactic were only looking at two potential sites in Europe with Lossiemouth facing competition from Sweden.
He added: "Virgin need to get their space port up and running in America first. Once that's making as profit they will be considering a European arm.
"The Swedish space port is quite well established, but if Virgin have whittled it down to only two then that suggests the case for Sweden is not as clear cut as we thought.”
UK Science Minister David Willets has already expressed his view that Lossiemouth should be a preferred site for UK space tourism, and this week his agency revealed a space strategy for the next four years at the same time as Sir Richard Branson revealed his plans.
A spokeswoman confirmed that Lossiemouth was a leading candidate in the race for space tourism. She said: "Lossiemouth is one of the UK options - Mr Willetts is keen to see the UK have the capacity to launch commercial space flights.
"It would be great if we can create the regulatory framework in the UK to do that.”
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