Sunday, 19 August, 2018


United Kingdom spaceport proposed for Sutherland site

Britain is keen to boost its space sector Britain is keen to boost its space sector
Kristine Garrett | 18 July, 2018, 18:56

As part of the Space Industry Act announced earlier in the year, the United Kingdom will begin building its first vertical launch spaceport in northern Scotland, on the A'Mhoine Peninsula. Initial funding of £2.5 million will go to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the vertical launch site in Sutherland which will use a combination of proven and innovative rocket technologies to pave the way for a world-leading spaceflight market.

Rockets and satellite will initially be launched from the A 'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland, at a site between Tongue and Durness.

HIE will work alongside American aerospace firm Lockheed Martin with an aim of having launches begin early in the 2020s.

Clark said: "As a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, we want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites as part of our modern Industrial Strategy". With the new spaceport "Britain will become Europe's first universal destination for the construction, launch and operation of satellites", - said the Agency.

The site has been selected by the UK Space Agency because it enables small satellite launch into polar orbits.

Scotland will host the UK's first spaceport paving the way for space tourism that could be worth almost £4bn to the United Kingdom economy. This year the company received three Edison Awards for ground-breaking innovations in autonomy, satellite technology and directed energy.

Graham Turnock, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, added: "This grant will help to kick-start an exciting new era for the UK space industry, and this is only the beginning of our LaunchUK campaign". This is in Sutherland - located on the north coast of Scotland - which should be recognizable to anyone familiar with The Proclaimers' "Letter From America".

There is a dynamic, all be it small, satellite manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom, this is good news for them as they may have the ability to launch programmes locally. "The worldwide space sector is growing and we want to ensure the region is ready to reap the economic benefits that will be generated from this fantastic opportunity".

New "horizontal" launch sites - where runways are used by space planes carrying satellites and tourists - are also planned in Cornwall, Glasgow and North Wales.

With Lockheed Martin getting involved in United Kingdom space launch operations, officials say the USA and United Kingdom governments will enter negotiations for a technology safeguards agreement, potentially enabling sensitive us space technologies to be used in the UK.

Britain's space industry is considered a success story: it is growing four times faster than the rest of the United Kingdom economy and the country has a 7 per cent share of the global space industry.

"The significant investment, supported by HIE, and an estimated 400 jobs is a welcome boost to the local community and wider Scottish space sector which we are committed to see grow".

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