The UK is set to build on its world leading expertise in aerospace with the development of vertical and horizontal spaceports. Scotland’s geography makes it the best place in the UK to reach in-demand satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.
The UK Government has announced its support for the development of a vertical spaceport at Sutherland in Scotland and is also supporting plans for Lockheed Martin to transfer its satellite launch operations to Shetland Space Centre.
The Sutherland spaceport will be developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with support from the UK Government and in collaboration with the private sector. The Sutherland spaceport could support up to 400 new jobs as a result of inward investment and supply chain opportunities.
With UK Government support, Shetland Space Centre anticipates that by 2024, the spaceport site could support a total of 605 jobs in Scotland including 140 locally and 210 across the wider Shetland region. A further 150 jobs will also be created through manufacturing and support services.
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The presence of spaceports is also expected to attract and encourage further business activity and investment. Companies like Orbital Express and Lockheed Martin are already looking at basing additional spaceflight related operations in Scotland, such as rocket construction.
Low cost access to space is important for the UK’s thriving space sector. Glasgow is one of the leading manufacturers of small satellites in Europe. These small satellites are increasingly aiming to reach specific orbits that run from North to South around the poles.
Small-satellite launch and sub-orbital flight from the UK will support organisations across the country to remain at the forefront of commercial space services. It will drive new highly skilled jobs and boost local economies – not only in the communities around spaceport sites, but in the UK’s space sector as a whole.
The demand for commercial vertical and horizontal launch could be worth a potential £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade.
Read about the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to support jobs, productivity and earning power.
Find out more about UK Government investment in Scotland.