UK Business Secretary Greg Clark has taken his first visit today of the site that will be used for a spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, the UK Space Agency announced today. The new spaceport is likely to create 400 jobs to the local Scottish economy. In his visit this morning, Clark said thanks to the UK’s location, planned regulatory framework, private sector strategy and space ecosystem, Britain has a competitive advantage to compete for a substantial share of a market for launching an estimated 2,000 small satellites by 2030.
During the visit today Clark viewed plans for the spaceport site and held discussions with local people and businesses to hear their thoughts. Figures released to coincide with his visit suggest that existing ‘rideshare’ small satellite launches (small satellites piggybacking on larger missions) are capable of meeting less than 35 percent of the total demand. This reveals a significant gap in commercial small satellite launch provision for which future UK spaceports are well placed to compete.
“Establishing this launch site will create local opportunities, with around 40 high quality, skilled jobs in a fairly remote and rural part of Sutherland. Crucially, we believe it will also stimulate further related investment and business activity more widely across the Highlands and Islands and other parts of Scotland,” said Roy Kirk of HIE is project director for the Sutherland Spaceport development.