Britain on Monday announced plans for its first spaceport on a remote peninsula in north-western Scotland as part of a major redevelopment of its space industry.
The government said it will invest 2.5 million pounds (3.3 million dollars) in a vertical launch spaceport for rockets and satellites in Scotland’s sparsley populated Sutherland country.
It will invest another 2 million pounds in three horizontal launch sites, saying it saw a potential benefit to the British economy of some 3.8 billion pounds over the next decade from the new space sites.
“As a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, we want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites as part of our modern industrial strategy.
“The UK’s thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites,” Business Secretary Greg Clark said.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the Sutherland launch site would create hundreds of new jobs.
UK Space Agency said it selected the site because “Scotland is the best place in the UK to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.”
The spaceport programme is part of a post-Brexit drive to expand Britain’s aerospace industry, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday.