A multi-million pound project to establish a satellite launch site in Scotland has taken a major step forward, with the granting of planning permission by The Highland Council on 26 June 2020.

The application was submitted by Aberdeen based Aurora Planning Limited on behalf of Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and represents a significant investment in the UK’s growing space sector. Launch-related infrastructure will include a control centre, 2.5km of road and a launch pad, occupying a total of just over 10 acres of the 740-acre site on the Melness Crofters Estate on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, around six miles from Tongue.

An economic impact assessment commissioned by HIE concluded that developing the spaceport could support around 250 high quality jobs in the Highlands and Islands, including 61 in Sutherland and Caithness – 44 of them on-site at Space Hub Sutherland itself, and 480 across Scotland as a whole.

HIE’s launch partner Orbex has already established a design and manufacturing facility in Forres, Moray, as a base to make the innovative Prime vehicle that it plans to assemble and put into orbit from Sutherland.

Satellites launched from the Highland site will be used for Earth observation, including gathering data to monitor and address the effects of climate change around the world.

The Committee’s decision will now be referred to Scottish Government Ministers for review, but the first launch could be as early as 2022. Once the spaceport is fully operational, it could host up to 12 launches a year.

For further information contact Maggie Bochel and Pippa Robertson at info@auroraplanning.co.uk or you can watch a video of the proposed development here https://vimeo.com/415894044.