Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

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

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

Other horizontal launch sites in Cornwall, Glasgow and Snowdonia may follow, and the government has set aside a £2m development fund for them.

The Prime vehicle launchers are up to 30 per cent lighter and 20 per cent more efficient than alternative technologies in the same small space rocket category, Orbex said.

The UK's first "spaceport" for the "vertical" launch of spacecraft will be built on the A'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland.

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". Rockets will be able to take off vertically from a small-satellite launch site at Sutherland.

The consortium behind the Sutherland spaceport proposal includes U.S. aerospace firm Lockheed Martin.

If all goes according to plan, this initial launch site could pave the way for future spaceflight and be up and running by the early 2020s.

"We want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites", said Greg Clark, the UK's Business Secretary.

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"This will build on our global reputation for manufacturing small satellites and help the whole country capitalize on the huge potential of the commercial space age", said United Kingdom business secretary Greg Clark. Charlotte Wright, the chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, on hearing the announcement said, "The decision to support the U.K.'s first spaceport in Sutherland is tremendous news for our region and for Scotland as a whole". "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".

Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin's United Kingdom country executive for space, told the BBC: "As a country we've not invested in launch vehicles since 1971 and Black Arrow, which put up the Prospero satellite".

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

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: "The space sector is an important player in the UK's economy and our recent Space Industry Act has unlocked the potential for hundreds of new jobs and billions of revenue for British business across the country".

British spaceport will be focused on satellites with polar orbits.

"The countdown to the first orbital rocket launch from UK soil has officially begun", said Patrick Wood, Lockheed Martin's UK Country Executive for Space.

Cosmic Girl will carry a LauncherOne rocket under its wing to a launch range over the Atlantic and release the rocket at around 35,000 feet for onward flight into space, carrying a satellite into Earth orbit. "We are committed to supporting a commercial market for access to space in the United Kingdom, and we will continue to engage with any company who seeks to operate here".

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