The UK has announced its first ever spaceship launch site. According to Xinhua News, this site is located at Sutherland in the north of Scotland.
The British government has also given $3.3 million in funding to the UK space agency for development of this new spaceship launching site. This site has been selected as Scotland provides the best location in the UK for vertically launched rockets to reach most desired satellite orbits.
Government Business Secretary Greg Clark Clark said that government’s modern Industrial Strategy aims to make Britain the first place in Europe to have capability of launching satellites.
“The UK’s thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put Britain in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites.”
On Monday, Clark launched the Great British Space Age that aims for developing the new spaceport for launching of space rockets and satellites.
Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise agency will get the initial funding for development of the rocket launch site at Sutherland. The new spaceport will use a combination of innovative and proven technologies to pave the way for a world-leading spaceflight market.
The UK Space Agency wants to speed up horizontal spaceport development across the UK, and has allocated 2.65 million U.S. dollar fund for it. The space agency has already identified Newquay (Cornwall,) Prestwick (near Glasgow) and Snowdonia (North Wales) as potential sites.
Under the new plan, US group Lockheed and its partners will be provided a grant of 23.5 million pounds to establish launch operations at Sutherland. These companies will also develop a new system for deploying small satellites in Reading, southern England.
Britain will exit the European Union next year, and the EU has decided to exclude some British companies from future work on the 10 billion euro Galileo satellite program. This is one of the reasons why Britain now wants to boost its space sector.
“The UK Government is driving the commercial space age and Scotland is leading the way,” Scottish Secretary David Mundell said.
“Scotland is uniquely positioned to pilot the UK’s commercial space sector. The opportunities are considerable, launching a new age for British industry.”