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Britain backs Scottish spaceport plan with $40 million in grants

Britain backs Scottish spaceport plan with $40 million in grants

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 UK Space Agency considered 26 sites in remote locations around the UK before opting for the A'Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland.

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

The figure includes a £5.5 million grant to UK-based Orbex to build an innovative new rocket for launch from Sutherland, with the support of British manufacturing operations and supply chains.

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.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "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".

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Speaking from the Farnborough Airshow on Monday, Mr Strang said the Shetland Space Centre continued to pursue a launch licence for Unst, backed by industry heavyweights and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). With the new spaceport, "the United Kingdom will become Europe's first one-stop-shop for building, launching and operating satellites", the agency said.

The site has been selected by the UK Space Agency because it enables small satellite launch into polar orbits.

"So this would put the United Kingdom in an even stronger position as a leading commercial space nation".

There is a dynamic, all be it small, satellite manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom, this is good news for them as they may have the ability to launch programmes locally. Scotland is located much further north, but it can be used to reach polar and near-polar orbits and will be open to companies from all over the world, especially American ones.

"The decision to support the U.K.'s first spaceport in Sutherland is tremendous news for our region and for Scotland as a whole", said Charlotte Wright, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the recipient of the spaceport funding. "It is a dynamic, fast-growing sector which employs some of the country's top talent, as well as contributing to economic growth and other important national needs, such as Earth observation and satellite communications". "The opportunities are considerable, launching a new age for British industry". "The global shortage of dedicated small satellite launches is one such barrier that the United Kingdom is in a strong position to translate into an opportunity". We are investing £2.5 million in a vertical launch site in Sutherland which will create hundreds of new jobs.

The UK has a thriving space sector with significant capability in manufacturing satellites and using the information they collect to drive innovation in other sectors ranging from healthcare to finance.


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