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Launch UK – Sutherland

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

UK Launch Services Ltd (UKLSL) played a pivotal role within a consortium that successfully secured a UK government grant for the development of a cutting-edge launch service utilizing the Orbex Prime Launch system. This launch service would operate from the Space Hub Sutherland (SHS) spaceport, strategically located on the picturesque A' Mhòine peninsula.

The primary objective of the project was to design, develop, and operationalise a comprehensive launch ecosystem that includes a Launch Site, Launch System (Orbex Prime), and associated supply chain and services. The selection of the A' Mhòine peninsula as the launch site was the result of extensive analysis within the SCEPTRE project, ensuring it meets the necessary criteria for successful satellite launches.

As part of the consortium, UKLSL made significant contributions to the winning bid definition and subsequently took on several key responsibilities within the project. These included:

  1. Initial safety site sizing of the spaceport: UKLSL undertook a crucial role in assessing the site's safety requirements, ensuring it met the necessary standards and specifications.

  2. Review of spaceport design: UKLSL conducted a thorough review of the spaceport design, meticulously evaluating it against the project's specific requirements and objectives.

  3. Planning application review and oversight: UKLSL actively engaged in the planning application process, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and overseeing the overall progress.

  4. Regulatory liaison and license applications: UKLSL coordinated with regulatory authorities, preparing and submitting the required license applications, taking into account all necessary regulations and guidelines.

  5. Development of key supply chain and support services: UKLSL played a crucial role in initiating the development of vital supply chain and support services, such as meteorology services, essential for the success of the launch operations.

In addition to these responsibilities, UKLSL also assumed a crucial system integration role. This entailed generating and maintaining the launch service level requirements, encompassing technical, commercial, and regulatory aspects. Furthermore, UKLSL was responsible for developing and managing the comprehensive integrated program plan, ensuring smooth coordination and alignment of all project activities.

By actively fulfilling these critical roles, UKLSL contributed to the seamless integration of various components and stakeholders within the project. Our expertise in technical, commercial, and regulatory matters played a crucial role in establishing a solid foundation for the successful development and operation of the launch service at the Space Hub Sutherland.

UKLSL continues to make significant strides in delivering key enabling elements of the project. The launch site is anticipated to generate approximately 61 highly skilled jobs in the Caithness and Sutherland regions. Moreover, at a regional level, it is estimated that this figure will multiply to around 250 jobs, effectively positioning Caithness and Sutherland as the hub of a burgeoning space sector.

Excitingly, the project aims to achieve its first satellite launch from Sutherland in 2023, marking a significant milestone.

The project undertaken by UK Launch Services Limited to establish a commercially viable small satellite launch service in Sutherland, Scotland, demonstrates our commitment to advancing the UK's presence in the rapidly evolving space sector. With our expertise, collaborative partnerships, and focus on innovation, UKLSL is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of space exploration. As the anticipated launch date approaches, excitement builds, and the region eagerly anticipates the economic growth and opportunities that the spaceport will bring.

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