Spaceport receives go-ahead on Scottish peninsula

First British spaceport to be built in Scotland

The Government also announced a new £2 million development fund for horizontal launch spaceports across the United Kingdom at sites such as Prestwick in Ayrshire, Cornwall's Newquay, Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute and Llanbedr, Gwynedd, Wales, subject to a successful business case.

The consortium behind the Sutherland bid includes Lockheed Martin.

Shetland Space Centre reiterated that it was never in the running for the first round of funding, with director Frank Strang previously stating that the level of private sector interest in the Unst site merited applying for a licence on its own.

UK Government Business Secretary Greg Clark will today [16 July 2018] launch the start of a Great British Space Age that will see vertically-launched space rockets and satellites take off from a new spaceport at Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland.

Horizontal launch sites at Newquay airport, Glasgow Prestwick airport and Snowdonia will get funding if they make a case for the economic benefits.

The site, which lies between Tongue and Durness, was chosen as it is the best place in the United Kingdom to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets. The system is due to undergo flight tests in California over the next several months. Spaceport Cornwall is projected to create 480 jobs and contribute $33 million a year to the local economy.

Its aim is to cement Britain's place in the commercial space sector and it'll be built on the awesomely named Scottish peninsula, A'Mhoine.

The commercial space sector is estimated to be worth a potential £3.8 billion to the United Kingdom economy over the next decade and will support Britain's modern Industrial Strategy by creating high-skilled jobs and boosting local economies.

The United Kingdom already has a thriving satellite industry, fueled in part by potential spaceport customers such as San Francisco-based Spire Global.

Satellites could be launched from the United Kingdom in as little as three years, heralding the start of what the government called the "Great British Space Age". The opportunities are considerable, launching a new age for British industry.

Sutherland isn't likely to be Europe's only spaceport, and it may not be its first: Last week, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and Italian partners signed onto a plan to build a spaceport on the heel of Italy's "boot," with operations beginning as early as 2020.

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