Plans for the UK’s first spaceport are advancing thanks to an investment of £9.8 million recently approved by project leader Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). A further £2.5 million for the project has been pledged by the UK Space Agency.

It is hoped the planned Spaceport at Surtherland, will create around 400 new jobs. HIE is expected to submit a planning application to Highland Council late next year, and will consult with the local community on the plans. A special package of benefits will also be delivered, which includes donating 1% of launch fees to residents. It is anticipated that once operational, the facility will handle 6 launches per year.

The planning application will include a vertical launch site for small rockets, to micro communication and earth observation satellites at the Moine, on the Melness Crofting Estate near Tongue in north Sutherland.

The commercial vertical and horizontal launch demand is worth a potential £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade and will support further growth of the country’s space sector.

15 August 2018