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Scottish spaceport counts down to launch

Written by Peter Walker

Plans to open a new spaceport in Scotland have moved closer to final approval after property developers working on the deal have signed a 75-year lease.

The land to be used for Space Hub Sutherland will launch small satellites via private services from companies including Lockheed Martin and micro-launch startup Orbex.

The lease is still dependent on final approval being given for the spaceport to be built, from groups including the UK Space Agency, which is in the process of working out the designs, funding and environmental impact studies.

All of this will contribute to an overall planning application, which the partners are hoping will pave the way for construction to begin in 2020.

Sutherland isn’t the only spaceport the UK is looking at in an effort to open up its commercial launch capabilities, with plans for one in Cornwall, with support and funding from Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit.