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Lockheed Martin wins $31M for Scottish spaceport

Lockheed Martin is in line to receive $31 million (£23.5 million) in grants from the UK Space Agency to establish Britain’s first spaceport on Scotland’s north coast, and to develop a new made-in-Britain system for deploying small satellites in orbit.

The British government announced the grants today, only hours after lifting the curtain on its plan to develop a vertical-launch spaceport in Scotland’s rugged Sutherland district and support the rise of horizontal-launch spaceports in other British locales.

In addition to Lockheed Martin’s grants, another $7 million (£5.5 million) will be awarded to London-based Orbex to support the development of its Prime rocket for launch from the Sutherland spaceport. The Prime rocket is designed to be fueled by bio-propane and will deliver payloads of up to 330 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Orbex said today in a separate announcement that it has raised a total of $40 million in public and private funding for the development of orbital launch systems.

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Britain chooses Scottish site for its prime spaceport

Sutherland spaceport
Artwork shows the spaceport at Scotland’s Sutherland site. (HIE / Courtesy of Perfect Circle PV)

The British government has selected a spot in Sutherland, on the A’Mhoine Peninsula in the Scottish Highlands, as the site of the country’s first vertical-launch spaceport. Three other sites will receive boosts for horizontal air-launch operations.

In a news release timed to coincide with the opening of this week’s Farnborough International Airshow, the government said it would provide initial funding of £2.5 million ($3.3 million) to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the vertical-launch site in Sutherland, with an aim of seeing the first liftoff in the early 2020s.

The consortium behind the Sutherland bid includes Lockheed Martin.

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