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Business / Unst space team pleased to see Sutherland project receive planning approval

SHETLAND Space Centre chief executive Frank Strang has welcomed news that a proposed spaceport in Sutherland has received planning permission from Highland Council, reiterating that they are not in competition with each other.

Frank Strang.
Frank Strang.

The project has the £17.3 million backing of Scottish Government agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

It hopes to become the UK’s first space port and there is an aim to undertake vertical satellite launches from 2022.

Shetland Space Centre also aims to create a spaceport in Unst – but the team hopes to launch from 2021, subject to gaining planning permission and a licence.

Chief executive Frank Strang has welcomed the news from Sutherland, saying all Scottish space ports are working together and are not in competition with each other.

The Shetland space team, however, has always maintained that Unst is the number one location for satellite launches in the emerging industry.

Earlier this year it was also reported that aerospace giant Lockheed Martin was likely to shift its support for Sutherland to Unst.

Aerospace giant likely to shift support from Sutherland to Shetland

“I’m delighted to see the next step of the planning process being approved for the Sutherland site,” Strang said.

“All the Scottish spaceports are working together to promote the new space industry, rather than competing with each other, under the auspices of the Scottish Space Leadership Council and this signals how serious the space sector is about operating from Scotland.

“The space business that is coming to Shetland is not relevant to the Sutherland site but complements the industry perception as to the viability of the new space sector to the UK economy.”

Speaking about Sutherland’s planning approval, which will be referred to Scottish Government ministers for review, a UK Government spokesperson said:

“Scotland is already a global hub for satellite manufacturing and the addition of commercial launch from the Highlands will bring new jobs and economic growth to local communities, while supporting businesses and supply chains across the whole of the UK.”