A H-2B rocket carrying cargo for the International Space Station blasts off from the launching pad at Tanegashima Space Center on the Japanese southwestern island of Tanegashima, about 1,000km (621 miles) southwest of Tokyo, in this photo taken by Kyodo early Aug. 4, 2013. REUTERS/Kyodo

The U.K. could, by 2020, begin launching commercial satellites from the British soil for the first time under new proposals set to be unveiled later this week. The proposals, outlined in the Spaceflight Bill, would also pave the way for the establishment and operation of spaceports across the U.K.

Although the U.K. has had a robust space program for the past 60 years, British companies are still dependent on services provided by countries like the U.S., India and Japan for the launch of their satellites.

“We have never launched a spaceflight before from this country,” U.K. Aviation Minister Tariq Ahmad said in a statement released Monday. “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, for the next 40 years.”

The proposed legislation aims to tap into a market that estimates suggest could be worth over $30 billion over the next two decades. In addition, the Department of Transport said that opening up direct access to space could allow ‎scientists to conduct experiments in zero gravity, thereby leading to the development of better vaccines and antibiotics.

NASA is already conducting experiments on board the International Space Station to study how microgravity affects the microstructure and pharmacokinetics of drugs.

“The move has the potential to take UK scientists up to space so they can research and develop vaccines and antibiotics, which grow differently where there is no gravity. The flights could also carry out hundreds of vital scientific experiments on medical issues such as aging and the human body,” the transport department said in the statement.

A draft version of the bill is expected this week, and the proposed legislation will be introduced in parliament later this year. The proposal builds on the 10 million pound ($12.4 million) grant the government made available to develop commercial launch capabilities earlier this month.

“With this week’s Spaceflight Bill launch, we will cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in this emerging market, giving us an opportunity to build on existing strengths in research and innovation,” Jo Johnson, the minister for universities and science, said in the statement. “Through our ‘Industrial strategy’ we will harness this potential, creating an environment where companies across this sector will thrive.”