United Kingdom awards $3.3 million for Scottish spaceport

Marco Green
July 16, 2018

Rockets and satellites will be vertically launched from the spaceport, which has received £2.5 million (approximately $3.31 million) in funding from the UK Space Agency.

The Unst project also wants to launch small satellites vertically from Lamba Ness, and a report past year commissioned for the space agency suggested it was the best location in the United Kingdom for doing so due to its unobstructed route into orbit.

The spaceports could be worth £3.8bn to the UK economy over the next decade, according to the UK Space Agency.

Sutherland was in competition with other sites, including Prestwick in Ayrshire, Unst in Shetland and Newquay airport in Cornwall.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise will be given £2.5m from the United Kingdom government to develop the spaceport which could be up and running by the early 2020s.

Agency chief executive Graham Turnock said the spaceport grant would "help kick-start an exciting new era for the United Kingdom space industry".

"We want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites", said Greg Clark, the UK's Business Secretary.

The consortium behind the Sutherland spaceport proposal includes United States aerospace firm Lockheed Martin.

The space industry Bill cleared its House of Commons stages in March, paving the way for the spaceport.

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, which is backing the project, will also be given £23.5 million from the space agency to "establish vertical launch operations at Sutherland using proven technology and to develop an innovative new system in Reading for deploying small satellites".

A site in the Highlands is expected to be confirmed as the site of the UK's first spaceport.

"The global 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".

Low cost access to space is important for the UK's thriving space sector, which builds more small satellites than any other country.

"In Spire, Scotland already sports Europe's most advanced and prolific satellite manufacturing capability, and with a space port right next door, enabling clockwork-like launches, we can finally get our space sector supply chain to be truly integrated".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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