UK Government funding for vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland

Mindy Sparks
July 17, 2018

"Lockheed Martin will apply its 50 years of experience in small satellite engineering, launch services and ground operations, as well as a network of United Kingdom -based and global teammates, to deliver new technologies, new capabilities and new economic opportunities", said Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin's United Kingdom country executive for space.

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.

Funding was also provided to other sites in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, the western tip of England, which are examining their potential for horizontal spaceports.

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 Industrial Strategy. And we will invest a further £2 million in horizontal launch sites - Prestwick is in the running for that and I wish them well.

HIE chief executive Charlotte Wright said: "The decision to support the UK's first spaceport in Sutherland is tremendous news for our region and for Scotland as a whole".

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

Virgin Orbit is partnering with Cornwell Council on the spaceport project, which could start air-launch operations as early as 2021.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the Sutherland launch site would create hundreds of new jobs.

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 percent share of the global space industry.

The government said additional grants from its £50 million ($66 million) UK Spaceflight Program fund would be announced during the Farnborough Airshow. The U.S. -based company has been a prominent member of the consortium supporting Sutherland's bid.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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