Journey into Space, in Sutherland
Ian Marchant visits a remote boggy wilderness in Sutherland, on the north coast of Scotland, which could become the UK's first spaceport.
Ian Marchant visits a remote boggy wilderness in Sutherland, on the north coast of Scotland, to see the spot where the UK's first spaceport is to be located.
The A'Mhoine Peninsula has been chosen as the potential site of the spaceport, which would launch small satellites into space at the rate of three a month. The UK Space Agency has given Highlands and Islands Enterprise £2.5m towards the development of the facility, which they are working on with a consortium including the US aerospace company Lockheed Martin. Their aim is to have the spaceport ready for launching in the early 2020s.
Many local people are enthusiastic about the plans, which could bring high quality jobs to an area which has been de-populating at an alarming rate. Others are angry about the plans to build on a wilderness which is unique in the world and has been virtually unchanged since the last Ice Age.
Ian meets people on both sides of the debate. What makes this landscape so special and why, given its unique status, is it the perfect location for a spaceport?