Are Sutherland Spaceport and Shetland Space Centre gearing up for military use?

10th Sep 2020
Sutherland spaceport

The vertical spaceports proposed for Scotland have long been touted as being specifically for earth observation, communication and navigation, however, the economics suggest that the spaceports will only be viable if they open themselves up to military use.

As reported in The Ferret recently (, the large military corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Leonardo have been courting both the Sutherland Spaceport and Shetland Space Centre for quite some time now and in fact Lockheed Martin were given a £23.5m grant from the UK Space Agency for its involvement in the Sutherland Spaceport.

Lockheed Martin have lobbied MSPs at least ten times in the past two years, and have met with Scottish Innovation Minister, Ivan McKee on at least five occasions.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who are driving the Sutherland Spaceport project, have frequently claimed that the Spaceport will not be used for any military application, although it does appear that they were referring to suggestions that it could be used for missile launches. So, it does remain quite likely that military spy satellites will be launched from the two Scottish vertical launch pads.

The Shetland Space Centre have made no secret of the fact that their facility will be used by the military.

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