Plans to build UK’s first spaceport revealed
Plans to build the UK’s first spaceport at Scolpaig on the north-west coast of North Uist have been revealed by the local council, as part of the Spaceport 1 project.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) is leading a consortium including Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), QinetiQ, and Commercial Space Technologies (CST), a UK based consultancy and satellite launch broker to build the facility.
The council has agreed to invest £1m to purchase the land where the launch facility will be constructed. From this base, rockets will be launched vertically, offering low-cost, safe and efficient access to sun synchronous and polar orbits.
Discussions have already begun about proposed test launches from the site later this year and if approved, the project could create between 50 and 70 jobs.
Roddie Mackay, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “This is a critical strategic investment for the Comhairle and the North Uist community. The economic benefits that would flow from this project are immense and we are delighted to offer it our full backing.”
Rachel MacKenzie, area manager for HIE Innse Gall, said: “Scotland’s space sector is young, but has strong potential and an appetite for significant growth. There is already international interest in opportunities here for design, manufacturing and supply chain businesses, and launch operations.HIE is delighted to be working with our partners in the Spaceport 1 consortium to develop these ambitious plans for the Outer Hebrides.”
Alan Webb, director at CST, commented “CST is delighted to be part of the Spaceport1 journey. We have been following the story of spaceports in the UK for over 10 years and we identified early on that North Uist has the necessary infrastructure, geographical situation and local skills to give its plans for vertical launch significant credibility.”