Sutherland on the launch pad to be Britain's first spaceport

The furthermost points of mainland Britain are on course to become launch pads into space.

The A'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland would be used for vertical rocket and satellite launches.

A further £2m funding will boost development of vertical spaceports across Britain, subject to a successful business case, at Newquay airport, Glasgow Prestwick airport and at a site in Snowdonia.

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 Unst project also wants to launch small satellites vertically from Lamba Ness, and a report a year ago 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.

HIE will work with a group that includes U.S. aerospace company Lockheed Martin, BBC notes, with a goal of having launches in the early 2020s.

"The UK's thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites".

Another £2 million (about $2.65 million) will be invested in horizontal launch sites across the UK.

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

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

Glasgow builds more satellites than any other city in Europe.

.

"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", she added.

Under the plans announced on Monday, U.S. group Lockheed and its partners will receive 23.5 million pounds in grants from the UK Space Agency which will go toward establishing launch operations at Sutherland and developing a new system for deploying small satellites in Reading, southern England.

Scotland is uniquely positioned to pilot the UK's commercial space sector and the UK Government recognises this potential.

A report last December said Scotland's space industry is now worth more to the economy than the defence sector.

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