Crofters agree to lease land for Sutherland spaceport
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been given the option to lease the site of a proposed spaceport.
Melness Crofters Estate owns the land on the Moine Peninsula and has agreed to HIE's development of it once planning permission has been secured.
The enterprise agency is heading up the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, which involves launching small satellites into space.
The venture is opposed by some who live in the area.
A planning application is currently being prepared and, if approved, could see construction start in 2020.
Space Hub Sutherland is among a number of Scottish projects to establish satellite launch sites.
Western Isles local authority - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - has proposed building its Spaceport 1 at Scolpaig on the north-west coast of North Uist.
The Shetland Space Centre project is developing plans for a site in Unst.