We have been monitoring the UK’s progress in its ambitions to launch a space program and recently there have been some quite significant developments.
The front runner in the race to build a launch pad has taken a huge step forward by announcing its public consultation process prior to tendering their final planning application. It is expected that the consortium aiming to build the site in Melness, Sutherland will reveal detailed plans of what the launch site will look like and any additional infrastructure needed.
The public consultation will allow people to ask questions at one of two main sessions to be held at Melness Community Centre on 4th October and 25th November. People will also get the opportunity to examine the drawings in detail as to date there have only been artist impressions of the proposed site and very little by way of detail.
The renewed announcement has also suggested the number of launches from the site is likely to be closer to 10 rather than the 20 originally proposed.
The Sutherland launch site is supported by the UK Space Agency as well as Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), giving the consortium lead by Lockheed Martin and Orbex Ltd. access to funding to facilitate the costly project.
The plans haven’t gone without its problems though.
A space industry news site recently published an article covering all the sites currently in the bidding as potential launch sites and the Sutherland location came under some very specific scrutiny as the finances didn’t appear to add up with the reduced number of launches taken into account.