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6877 Views 11 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JohnTw
Watching this spectacular SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in California and thinking this is just the kind of thing we could look forward to if we actually get our spaceport.

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UK's first spaceport will be built at Sutherland in the Highlands

Daily Record - 15th July 2018

Scotland has been chosen as the site for the UK’s first spaceport.

The prospect of adventurous Brits checking in for out-of-this-world trips will take a step closer with the Business Secretary Greg Clark announcing that Sutherland has been picked for the project.

The site will initially host rocket and satellite launches but commercial passenger travel could then follow.

Clark will say during a speech at this week’s Farnborough Air Show that this marks the start of a “new British Space Age”.

He will add that the spaceflight market could be worth £4 billion to the UK economy over the next 10 years.

Sutherland beat competition from Prestwick in Ayrshire, Unst in the Shetland Islands and Newquay airport, Cornwall.

The spaceport will provide the infrastructure needed for space tourism, though a regulatory framework for passenger trips has yet to be created.

The space industry Bill cleared its House of Commons stages in March, paving the way for the spaceport. Transport Minister Jo Johnson said: “This puts us at the forefront of the new space race.

“It helps us to compete as the destination of choice for satellite companies worldwide.”

Nearly a fifth of the UK’s space industry are based in Scotland and Glasgow builds more satellites than any other city in Europe.

A consortium submitted a proposal for Sutherland to the UK Space Agency, saying the A’Mhoine peninsular was ideal for launching satellites into orbit.

They expect to be able to collar business from the military, Government and private sectors.

SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford said: “Launches are currently carried out from Kazakhstan.

“Easy launch access from Scotland would benefit the commercial satellite *industry right across the UK.”

The move is backed by the specialist technical staff union Prospect and GMB and Unite.

And Clark hopes Britain’s share of the global space economy will increase from 6.5 per cent now to 10 per cent by 2030.
North Uist In Race To Open UK's First Spaceport

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - 11th June 2019

North Uist is set to enter the space age as a project to create the UK’s first ever vertical launch commercial space port is unveiled today.

The consortium behind the Spaceport 1 project, which includes major players in the UK and international space sector and is led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), is proposing to build a new Spaceport at Scolpaig on the north-west coast of North Uist.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has agreed to invest around £1 million to purchase the land where the launch facility will be constructed. From this base, rockets will be launched vertically, offering low-cost, safe and efficient access to sun synchronous and polar orbits. In a unique partnership with QinetiQ, who operate the nearby MOD Hebrides Range, the project will benefit from proven launch vehicle technology, existing intelligent systems and access to the largest area of segregated airspace in Europe.

Roddie Mackay, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “This is a critical strategic investment for the Comhairle and the North Uist community. The economic benefits that would flow from this project are immense and we are delighted to offer it our full backing.

When it comes to fruition the proposal will create between 50 and 70 jobs and a range of wider and longer term economic benefits.

Rachel MacKenzie, Area Manager for HIE Innse Gall, said “Scotland’s space sector is young, but has strong potential and an appetite for significant growth. There is already international interest in opportunities here for design, manufacturing and supply chain businesses, and launch operations.HIE is delighted to be working with our partners in the Spaceport 1 consortium to develop these ambitious plans for the Outer Hebrides.”

The consortium consists of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), QinetiQ, and Commercial Space Technologies (CST), a UK based consultancy and satellite launch broker with 35 years’ experience.

Alan Webb, Director at CST, commented “CST is delighted to be part of the Spaceport1 journey. We have been following the story of spaceports in the UK for over 10 years and we identified early on that North Uist has the necessary infrastructure, geographical situation and local skills to give its plans for vertical launch significant credibility. When combined with the unending drive from those involved, CST has every confidence that Spaceport1 will be a commercial success and boost to local and national interests.”

Discussions have already begun about proposed test launches from the site later this year. Further community consultation events on the planned activities and the Spaceport1 project will take place over the summer as part of an on-going programme of engagement.

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