Highlands & Islands

Idea to launch satellites off croft land in Sutherland

Sutherland Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The proposal would involve land near Tongue in Sutherland

Crofters in Sutherland could become involved in the space industry, according to a new report.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has commissioned a study into whether launches of small commercial satellites could be done at The Moine.

The area of land forms part of the Melness Crofting Estate near Tongue on the north Highland coast.

HIE said it has also held talks with local residents about the idea of launching satellites into orbit.

Roy Kirk, Caithness and Sutherland Area Manager for HIE, said: "The satellite launch market is growing and we believe there will be an opportunity in the coming years for one location in Europe to establish a vertical launch centre.

"The Moine appears to meet many, if not all, of the requirement to become that location and we've commissioned this study to gather and weigh up the evidence."

He added: "While HIE recognises that a satellite launch site could provide an economic boon for Sutherland, we also care deeply that any potential environmental impacts are fully understood and evaluated as well."

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