Market Leads & Opportunities

Plans unveiled for spaceport on North Uist


Plans have been announced for the creation of a vertical-launch commercial spaceport on the north-west coast North Uist.The Spaceport 1 consortium is led by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), which has agreed to invest about £1m to buy the land where the launch facility will be constructed. Rockets will be launched vertically, offering low-cost and efficient access to sun synchronous and polar orbits. The consortium consists of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), QinetiQ, and Commercial Space Technologies (CST), a UK-based consultancy and satellite launch broker with 35 years’ experience.The inclusion in the project team includes QinetiQ, which operates the nearby MOD Hebrides Range, will give access to proven launch vehicle technology, existing systems and access to the largest area of segregated airspace in Europe.When it comes to fruition, the proposal is expected to create between 50 and 70 jobs and a range of wider and longer-term economic benefits.Discussions have already begun about proposed test launches from the site later this year. Further community consultation events on the planned activities and the Spaceport1 project will take place over the summer.