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Spaceport News

We endeavor to enable our users to appreciate a 'storyline' of UK spaceport events, we collate spaceport news here and list it, in date order, on this one page. It's a small history of the progress on the UK spaceport projects/industry.

 

18/02/2020 (source: https://www.traveldailynews.com/post/three-planned-spaceports-to-boost-uks-tourism-and-economy)

Three planned spaceports to boost UK's tourism and economy

New research reveals how three planned in Cornwall, Sutherland and Glasgow are to hugely contribute towards the UK's economy and tourism opportunities. Spaceport Cornwall to add new 'point of interest' for people looking to visit Newquay and the surrounding areas.

The average rate of return per £1 of investment into earth observation applications is between £2-£4, or up to £12 if spillover is accounted for. This contribution could grow to a staggering £1.4 billion if spillover effects are taken into account. Three planned spaceports in Cornwall and Scotland could contribute up to £1.407 billion to the economy if the wider spillover effects are taken into account, new research shows.

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11/02/2020 (source: https://www.hie.co.uk/our-region/regional-projects/space-hub-sutherland/)

Planning application for Space Hub Sutherland published on Highland Council website

Our planning application for Space Hub Sutherland was published by the Highland Council, as planning authority, on 11 February 2020. You can view the plans on the Highland Council website.

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04/12/2019 (source: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1904104/spaceport-planning-application-delayed-due-to-design-changes/)

Sutherland Spaceport planning application delayed due to ‘design changes’.

Plans to build the UK’s first vertical-launching spaceport in the Highlands have been delayed so that changes can be made to its design.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has confirmed that an application for planning permission will not be lodged later this month, as was previously intended.

Instead, the development agency now expects to submit its proposals for the £17.3million scheme in Sutherland to Highland Council “early in the new year”.

The delay will enable the developers to “make some design changes”, following feedback received during the consultation process, which recently concluded after a series of events in Caithness and Sutherland.

The alterations are understood to relate to the “visual impact of the launch site”, as well as the internal road layout for the development near Tongue.

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26/11/2019 (source: https://cornishstuff.com/2019/11/26/spaceport-cornwall-funding-approved/)

Spaceport Cornwall funding approved.

Cornwall Council has voted in favour of giving £10.3m towards the Spaceport Cornwall project.

However the meeting of full council was abandoned immediately after the vote when protesters in the public gallery threw paper aeroplanes and started chanting.

The chamber was cleared of councillors by council staff but the protesters continued to chant and shouted at councillors as they left saying things like “shame on you”.

It came after more than three hours of debate about the spaceport proposals during which attempts were made to defer the decision and to address concerns about climate change.

Paul Wills, independent councillor for St Columb, proposed the amendment calling for more information about the financial case for the project, more information about the environmental impact and for the entire scheme to be subject to scrutiny by councillors.

However, despite support from councillors from different political groups, the amendment was lost.

Deputy leader Adam Paynter, who had urged councillors to back the funding, said that any delay would send out the wrong message to those who were involved in the project. He said it was “now or never”.

That view was supported by Conservative councillor David Harris who said that Cornwall may never get another opportunity like this.

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19/11/2019 (source: https://www.insider.co.uk/news/first-look-inside-scotlands-only-20912104)

The first look inside Scotlands only major rocket factory.

Orbex create the next generation of rockets to be launched from Sutherland Spacehub.

The behind-the-scenes visit at Forres in Moray shows how space company Orbex is creating the next generation of renewable-fuelled orbital launch vehicles.

The company, which has its HQ and production facilities in Forres and design facilities in Denmark, is using advanced engineering and materials in the process.

It also revealed its new Mission Control Centre that will be used to monitor orbital rocket launches from Scotland and other sites, as well as engine tests from its two propulsion test sites.

At its Scottish factory, Orbex has installed several new production systems, including one of the largest carbon fibre winding machines in Europe.

This 18-metre long machine automates the rapid weaving of intricate mixes of materials to build the main rocket structures.

Orbex has worked for several years to investigate and perfect the carbon fibre blend used in the patented construction of its Prime rocket.

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06/11/2019 (source: https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/uk-space-agency-confirms-7million-3506069)

UK Space Agency confirms £7million funding for Spaceport Cornwall

Spaceport Cornwall estimates a horizontal launch spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay could create 150 immediate job

Spaceport Cornwall has moved closer to launch after the UK Space Agency (UKSA) reached agreement with Virgin Orbit UK Limited, the UK branch of Sir Richard Branson’s satellite launch company, to enable the horizontal launch of small satellites from Cornwall Airport Newquay.

In addition to funds and support provided by Virgin Orbit, the UKSA grant comes as part of a broader £20 million funding package for Cornwall Airport Newquay infrastructure announced by Science Minister Chris Skidmore in June.

The funds will be used to develop launch operations support systems in the UK, as well as to conduct mission planning and to put in place the facility for satellite launches from Cornwall. The first spaceflight is expected to take place in 2021.

These launches will be conducted using Virgin Orbit’s innovative air launch system, LauncherOne, and are expected to be the first orbital launches ever conducted from the UK, as well as the first horizontal launches ever conducted in Europe. Spaceport Cornwall estimates a horizontal launch spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay could create 150 immediate jobs, with additional opportunities for local businesses in directly supporting the site.

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10/10/2019 (source: https://www.space.com/scotland-rocket-launch-spaceport-construction.html)

Scottish Spaceport to Begin Construction Soon - Construction is now awaiting approval.

Construction on a low-cost vertical spaceport in the north of Scotland may commence within a year, pending the approval of a planning application by a local authority.

The spaceport, to be called the Space Hub Sutherland, would be built at A'Mhoine on the Moine Peninsula in the county of Sutherland, a few miles from Scotland's Atlantic coast. This facility would enable vertical rockets to launch small satellites into low Earth polar and sun-synchronous orbits.

In early August, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), a local Scottish government economic and community development agency, signed a 75-year option to lease the land where the spaceport would be built.

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02/10/2019 (source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-49905163)

Sutherland spaceport plans cover 'extensive' site

The site would be used for the launching of small satellites. A proposed spaceport would be built on an "extensive" site in a relatively "untouched landscape", according to a planning report.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is heading up the Space Hub Sutherland project.

Ahead of seeking planning permission in December, HIE has given Highland Council notice of what is proposed. A control centre, launch pad complex and "antenna farms" are planned for the site of about 815 acres (330 ha). Also proposed are a rocket assembly building, launch towers and security fencing.

Land owner In the report to councillors, local authority planning officials said the satellite launch facility was planned for an area of "sweeping" moorland and peat bog wetland, known as "flows". The nearest "significant" artificial structures are the A838 road and the ruins of a house.

The report will be discussed at next week's meeting of Highland Council's north planning applications committee. Melness Crofters Estate owns the land on the Moine Peninsula, south east of Tongue, and has agreed to HIE's development of it once planning permission has been secured.

HIE and other private companies, including aerospace firm Orbex, have said the project would create more than 100 jobs. The venture is opposed by some who live in the area. They have raised concerns about the spaceport's impact on the environment.

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18/09/2019 (source: https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwall-spaceport-latest-council-cabinet-3332557)

Cornwall Spaceport latest - Council cabinet agrees £12million funding

The money is part of a £20m package which will provide a number of things needed to prepare Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Dreams of a Cornwall Spaceport have taken a step closer to becoming a reality after Cornwall Council ’s cabinet agreed to spend £12million on the project. The money is part of a £20m package which will provide a number of things needed to prepare Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay. Funding from the council will be used alongside cash from the UK Space Agency, Virgin Orbit and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.
Following the Cabinet’s decision the matter will now be passed on to the next meeting of the full council in November where it will have to be approved before it can be signed off. Spaceport Cornwall will be used for horizontal small satellite launches into orbit. Virgin Orbit, which has developed its LauncherOne system, will be the main operator from the site.

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13/09/2019 (source: https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwall-council-could-spend-12-3309014)

Cornwall Council could spend £12 million on Spaceport

The spaceport would create 150 direct jobs by 2025. Cornwall Council has launched a charm offensive in support of Spaceport Cornwall ahead of asking councillors to approve £12million for the project. The council's leading Cabinet will be asked next week to approve providing capital and revenue funding for the project for a horizontal launch site from Newquay Airport.
Under the plans the spaceport would be used to launch small satellites into orbit and has received backing from Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit firm. Earlier this year a £20m funding package was announced which would include £12m from Cornwall Council, £7.85m from the UK Space Agency and £2.5m from Virgin Orbit. A report due to go to the Cabinet explains that £10.12m of the council's money will be capital funds which will be used to provide improvements and infrastructure needed at the airport so that it can be used as a spaceport.
The money will also help to secure the spaceport licence which will be required so that it can operate and will also create new jobs and boost the economy. Under the proposals Spaceport Cornwall would be the first horizontal launch site in Europe with a "pathfinder" launch aimed for 2021.
It also highlights that Spaceport Cornwall will not only be tied to Virgin Orbit as a single operator and will be seeking to forge deals with other firms. While Virgin Orbit will look to base their European operations in Cornwall other operators could also use the Spaceport.

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12/09/2019 (source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-49673755)

Sutherland spaceport plans move toward planning application

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has started the process towards submitting a formal planning application for a spaceport.
The enterprise agency is heading up the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, which would involve launching small satellites into space.
It has lodged a proposal of application notice with the Highland Council. As part of pre-planning application process, HIE will hold public consultation events from next month. Planning consent for the spaceport is expected to be sought in December.
Melness Crofters Estate owns the land on the Moine Peninsula and has agreed to HIE's development of it once planning permission has been secured.

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04/09/2019 (source: http://news.hie.co.uk/all-news/public-invited-to-share-views-on-satellite-launch-site-proposals/)

Public invited to share views on satellite launch site proposals

Plans to create a spaceport that will launch communications satellites into orbit from the Moine peninsula in Sutherland are set to be unveiled for discussion at public meetings over the next two months.
Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is backing the £17.3m project to design and build Space Hub Sutherland, has today (Wednesday 4 September) lodged a proposal of application notice with the Highland Council.
The notice effectively triggers the start of a process that will lead to a formal application for planning consent being submitted to the local authority at the end of December.
As part of pre-planning consultation, HIE is organising public events at Melness Community Centre on Wednesday 2 October and Monday 25 November, each running from 3.30pm to 8.00pm. These are designed to enable anyone with an interest in the project to find out more, question the design team and developers, and comment on the plans before they are finalised.

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02/08/2019 (source: https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/site-agreed-for-space-hub-sutherland)

Site agreed for Space Hub Sutherland

Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) has reached an agreement to lease the land where it wants to build Space Hub Sutherland.
The owners of land earmarked for the Space Hub Sutherland development on the Moine Peninsula have agreed a lease option with HIE. Representatives of Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) and HIE have signed the agreement, which secures the option for HIE to lease the land once planning consent for the project has been granted.
HIE is leading the development, with a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA), which is also funding two launch companies that plan to use the facility.
Design work and scoping for environmental impact studies are under way. This will form part of the planning application being prepared to obtain consent in time for construction to start in 2020.

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24/06/2019 (source: https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/studies-set-to-start-for-space-hub-sutherland)

Studies set to start for Space Hub Sutherland

Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) has announced that preparatory work is getting under way to agree the scope of environmental impact studies for a proposed space centre in Sutherland.
HIE is developing plans for Space Hub Sutherland, which is expected to begin vertical launches of small satellites from the A’Mhoine peninsula, near Tongue, early in the next decade.
As a first step towards determining environmental impacts, HIE now seeking agreement on the scope of environmental issues that will need to be examined. The development agency is consulting the Highland Council, statutory consultees Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Historic Environment Scotland and other interested parties.
The project has attracted support from the UK Space Agency, which is also funding two launch companies that plan to set up in Sutherland, Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Orbex.
Space Hub Sutherland is planned as a key component of Scotland’s growing space sector.

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04/06/2019 (source: https://spaceportcornwall.com/pdfs/press-release-jun-2019.pdf)

Leading the New Space Age: Government backs ambitious plans for the UK in space

The government is ensuring the UK plays a leading role in the New Space Age as part of its modern Industrial Strategy, with new support for domestic satellite launch capability and space weather forecasting, as well as a new National Space Council to improve UK space strategy.
There are significant opportunities for the growing UK space sector as commercial space activity increases globally and the United States leads international efforts to return humans to the Moon by 2024.
The UK Space Agency and Cornwall Council intend to make available up to £20 million for Spaceport Cornwall and US launch operator Virgin Orbit to develop facilities and operational capabilities that would enable small satellite launch from Cornwall in the early 2020s. This investment remains subject to business case approval processes, including from Cornwall Council later this year.

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March 2019 (source: https://norr.com/spotlight/work-in-progress/space-hub-sutherland/)

NORR appointed as lead designers of Space Hub Sutherland

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) appointed NORR in March 2019 to lead the design of its new Space Hub facility in Sutherland, Scotland. Along with our sub-consultants ARUP and ERZ, we are working towards the submission of the Planning Application in February 2020.
Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, including a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA).
Kevin Stephen, lead architect for NORR said “The Space Hub project is exciting, as well as complex and sensitive. The integration of a vertical small satellite launch facility, with associated infrastructure into this rural and naturally significant site, presents many interesting challenges for us; the sort of challenges we thrive on.”
Roy Kirk, Space Hub Sutherland project director, said “This is a key step in the development of Space Hub Sutherland. This is a high profile, complex and innovative project that we expect to generate many social and economic benefits for different parts of the region, including around 400 new well-paid skilled jobs.

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21/02/2019 (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spaceports-keeping-people-safe)

Spaceports: keeping people safe

The primary aim of this legislation is to make sure that commercial spaceflight operations do not pose an unacceptable risk of harming people near to where these operations are being carried out.
A key aim of the Space Industry Act 2018 is to ensure that operators are safely managing all activities relating to launch operations in the UK in this future space age. The general public should not be exposed to any significant risks to health or life from spaceflight activities beyond that which they would normally be exposed in their daily lives.
This document outlines some key existing health and safety legal requirements that may need to be implemented by a spaceport to minimise the risks to populations nearby from the storage and use of hazardous fuels.This document also outlines away that the risks to people near the launch and the spacecraft flight path could be assessed to make sure that a spaceport location is acceptable when considering public safety.This document does not represent formal policy guidance in support of the Space Industry Act 2018. Rather, the information provided is based on studies undertaken to allow the government to understand possible ways to assure public safety.

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07/02/2019

UK built rocket set for launch in 2021

The first British-built rocket set to take off from a British launch site will be named Prime and could launch in 2021. It would be the first UK launch of a rocket since 1971.

 

06/12/2018 (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-new-space-age-more-than-900000-for-education-and-range-control-to-support-launch-uk)

The new space age: more than £900,000 for education and range control to support Launch UK

Close to £1 million of government funding will be used to inspire the next generation of engineers and support future commercial range control services for UK spaceflight. The UK Space Agency is awarding £325,000 to the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) to bring the latest space science to children and families across the UK.

This will help create new resources based on real scientific and engineering challenges, including those facing the operation of UK spaceports, rockets and spaceplanes.

Together, up to 14 UK science centres and museums will deliver activities to 200,000 children and adults until March 2021, building on the success of ASDC’s Destination Space education programme, which reached more than 900,000 people during Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

As the Launch UK programme continues to build momentum, a further £600,000 is on offer for businesses capable of providing range control services. These cover a wide variety of tasks from tracking rockets and spaceplanes in flight, to notifying users of airspace when launches are taking place.

The UK space sector is growing rapidly and there is a global movement towards the commercialisation of space activities. Through the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency is at the heart of capitalising on these exciting developments for the UK, helping to generate new jobs, economic growth and opportunities in science, technology and industry.

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23/11/2018

Spaceport Cornwall release video highlighting how a spaceport in Cornwall can benefit the whole economy

By providing the first launch from UK soil in 50 years, Spaceport Cornwall, and Virgin Orbit, will benefit Cornwall in a variety of ways.

 

21/11/2018 (source: https://www.stevedouble.org.uk/news/steve-double-mp-hosts-spaceport-cornwall-event-parliament)

Steve Double MP hosts Spaceport Cornwall event in Parliament

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has hosted an event in Parliament that saw MPs, space industry leaders, Cornwall Council and Cornwall’s Local Enterprise Partnership come together to hear the case for Spaceport Cornwall.

Commenting, Steve said: “The Space Industry Bill in March was a crucial milestone towards commercial space flight from the UK, and it’s vital we don’t lose momentum. I’m pressing Ministers to bring forward the necessary supplementary legislation and investment to pave the way for launch from Cornwall.”

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11/10/2018 (source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1030129/space-race-spaceport-plan-report-uk-space-agency-sutherland-scotland)

New space race: UK Spaceport MUST launch NOW or Swedish rival will seize EU business

A NEW space race was launched today after a report warned Britain had to act IMMEDIATELY to beat the EU competition by turning plans for a spaceport in the north of Scotland into a reality. 
Plans for a British spaceport are in the formative stages, with the announcement earlier this year that American aerospace company Lockheed Martin won one UK Space Agency grant and Orbex won another totalling £23.5million. 
But Sweden and Norway are already pushing ahead with a rival launch site in Kiruna – and the report warns there will be only one winner and it will be the first to stage a successful launch. 
The British bid involves a vertical launch operation capable of sending spacecraft into orbit at the A’Mhoine peninsula, between Tongue and Durness in Sutherland.
But the research, commissioned from business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan by the UK Space Agency, made it clear time is of the essence – And Britain’s space bid had to blast off NOW or EU competition would snuff it out.

The report stated: “There is strong support for the argument that the UK must be first to market to ensure the long-term success of the UK launch programme. ”The market is forming and there is an opportunity to be “disruptive”; there is a short-term opportunity to create market demand by developing a commercial spaceport. Spaceports need to be commercially focussed and low cost.

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read the report..

 

16/07/2018 (source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-44839536)

UK spaceport proposed for Sutherland site

The government says the UK is in a prime position to develop vertical and horizontal launch sites.

A peninsula on Scotland's north Highland coast has been identified as the site of what would be the UK's first spaceport.

Vertical rocket and satellite launches are planned from A'Mhoine, Sutherland.

The UK Space Agency said the move could pave the way for spaceflights from the site between Tongue and Durness.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise will be given £2.5m from the UK government to develop the spaceport which could be up and running by the early 2020s.

Sutherland is the first vertical launch site to be awarded the grant money, ahead of other vertical sites at Unst, Shetland, and North Uist in the Western Isles.

The proposed site is on the Melness Crofting Estate.

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16/07/2018 (source: https://news.lockheedmartin.com/2018-07-16-Lockheed-Martin-To-Help-UK-Space-Agency-Build-First-Commercial-Spaceport-Launch-First-Orbital-Rocket)

Lockheed Martin To Help UK Space Agency Build First Commercial Spaceport; Launch First Orbital Rocket

The UK Space Agency has selected Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to help implement its vision for the UK Spaceflight Programme, an innovative initiative to create a world-leading commercial launch market that grows the UK economy through regular, reliable and responsible access to space. "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. "The UK Government has stated its desire to grow the UK's space sector to ten percent of the global space economy by 2030. We are proud to be selected to help them achieve this goal. This initiative will not only spark advancements in science and innovation, it will create new opportunities for current and future UK-based suppliers to become part of the next space age."

Lockheed Martin UK Spaceflight Programme Video from Lockheed Martin Space on Vimeo.

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16/07/2018 (source: https://orbex.space/news/orbex-secures-30-million-funding-for-uk-space-launch-vehicles)

Rockets to Launch Small Satellites into Orbit from UK Spaceport Using Renewable Fuel

Orbex has announced that it has secured £30 million ($39.6 million) in public and private funding for the development of orbital space launch systems. Orbex will launch orbital vehicles from the newly-announced UK Vertical Launch spaceport in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands as part of the main consortium.

Recently emerging from stealth mode, Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company, with subsidiaries and production facilities in Denmark and Germany. The company has received funding from the UK Space Agency (UKSA), two of Europe's largest venture capital funds, Sunstone Technology Ventures and the High-Tech Gründerfonds, as well as strategic investor Elecnor Deimos Space, private investors, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme.

Orbex is constructing a completely re-thought and re-designed orbital launch vehicle, called Prime, to deliver small satellites into Earth’s orbit. The Prime launcher has a novel architecture that eliminates the fundamental mass challenge of small launchers. Prime launchers are up to 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than any other vehicle in the small launcher category, packing more power per cubic litre than many heavy launchers. The Prime vehicle will launch satellites to altitudes up to 1,250km, inserting them into sun-synchronous or polar orbits.

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15/07/2018 (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/one-giant-leap-vertical-launch-spaceport-to-bring-uk-into-new-space-age)

One giant leap: Vertical launch spaceport to bring UK into new space age

The UK is set to build on its world leading expertise in aerospace with the development of vertical and horizontal spaceports.

Industrial Strategy funding awarded to proposed vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland Horizontal launch sites such as those planned in Cornwall, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia to be boosted by new £2 million development fund Commercial vertical and horizontal launch demand is worth a potential £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade and will support further growth of Britain’s space sector Additional grants to be announced at next week’s Farnborough International Airshow will see leading commercial spaceflight operators launching from Sutherland

The UK Space Agency has selected the first vertical launch site in Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland and is making available a new £2 million fund to boost horizontal spaceport development across Britain, Business Secretary Greg Clark will announce today (Monday 16 July).

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15/07/2018 (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-funding-for-vertical-launch-spaceport-in-sutherland)

UK Government funding for vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland

A proposed spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland gets £2.5million UK Space Agency funding.

A proposed vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland has been awarded £2.5 million in funding by the UK Space Agency to develop a ground breaking launch site. The UK Space Agency is a UK Government body. UK Government Business Secretary Greg Clark will today [16 July 2018] launch the start of a Great British Space Age that will see vertically-launched space rockets and satellites take off from a new spaceport at Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland.

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