Scotland & Space24th Apr 2019
Since July 2018 there have been public announcements and funding issued with the aim of creating a vertical launch spaceport in Scotland to take UK into the next stages of its goal to become a major player in this industry.
Sutherland and Shetland have both been brought into the mix as potential launch sites with progress being made with both locations and a likely race to determine which of the locations becomes the first.
The UK Space Agency have put their weight behind the Sutherland project with funding being provided to Lockheed Martin for the provision of launch facilities with conditions attached.
The Sutherland announcement hasn’t been without its controversies, with local action groups launching a campaign against the use of the location, citing potential problems with wildlife and devaluing their property, despite some fairly strong support amongst local crofters.
Only time will tell which site manages to make the most progress and facilitates the first launch from Scottish soil of a commercial rocket. However, one deciding factor may be the absence of full legislation from the UK government to determine the framework for any of the companies launching from UK soil.
The UK Space Agency and the UK Government have come under some criticism for their apparent lack of progress or urgency in pushing through all of the necessary legislation that will allow private companies to launch rockets carrying small satellites into Lower Earth Orbit from the UK mainland.