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The UK is building on expertise in aerospace with the development of vertical and horizontal spaceports in Scotland.

Why build spaceports in Scotland?

Scotland’s geography makes it the best place in the UK to reach sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.  As a result, establishing spaceports will create jobs and bring investment and businesses to the surrounding area.

The UK has a thriving space industry.  For example, Glasgow-based companies like AAC Clyde Space are some of the leading manufacturers of small satellites in Europe.  Small satellites increasingly aim to reach specific orbits that run from North to South around the Earth’s poles.  Companies need access to affordable launch services that spaceports in Scotland will be able to offer.

Where are the spaceports?

The UK Space Agency is working to support vertical and horizontal launch spaceports across Scotland including: Shetland, Sutherland, Argyll, Prestwick, and the Outer Hebrides.

SaxaVord Spaceport – Shetland

Lockheed Martin are developing launch operations at SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland.  This is expected to create 255 jobs in Scotland, including 139 in Unst.

Space Hub Sutherland

Space Hub Sutherland is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in collaboration with the private sector.  The spaceport could create around 61 jobs in Caithness and Sutherland, including 44 on site at Melness.  Furthermore, rocket company Orbex have opened a facility in Forres for developing their Prime launch vehicle which will launch from Space Hub Sutherland.

Spaceport Machrihanish – Argyll

Spaceport Machrihanish plans to offer horizontal, vertical and high-altitude platform services.

Prestwick Spaceport

Prestwick Spaceport will offer horizontal launch capabilities for small satellite delivery.  In addition, the site also has the potential for hosting human spaceflight and commercial sub-orbital hypersonic flight services. The UK Government is investing £32 million in the Space and Aerospace programme at Prestwick through the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Spaceport 1 – Outer Hebrides

Spaceport 1 is a consortium opening a vertical launch spaceport in the Western Isles at Scolpaig, North Uist.

More Information

Visit the UK Space Agency website - external link

Explore how the UK Government is Levelling Up across Scotland.