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    Lockheeds U.K. Spaceport to Move Further North to Shetland

    Abstract:Lockheed Martin Corp., which is helping develop the U.K.‘s first commercial spaceport, is to move its satellite-launch site to a new center in the Shetland Islands, helping to create jobs and boost the country’s economy following Brexit.

      Lockheed Martin Corp., which is helping develop the U.K.‘s first commercial spaceport, is to move its satellite-launch site to a new center in the Shetland Islands, helping to create jobs and boost the country’s economy following Brexit.

      The platform on the archipelago‘s northern island of Unst will create as many as 605 Scottish positions by 2024, the U.K. Space Agency said in a statement Thursday. Lockheed’s previous site at Sutherland on mainland Scotland will remain in operation as a development project for Orbex, which plans to launch its Prime rocket in 2022.

      Moving to Shetland will allow U.S.-based Lockheed to have as many as 30 launches a year, the space agency said. The Sutherland site is restricted to 12 annually, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

      With the U.K. having left the European Union at the beginning of the year, and a transition agreement due to end on Dec. 31, the country is seeking to capitalize on a growing worldwide interest in space to attract jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

      Rural Internet

      Earlier this year, the U.K. government and Indian telecommunications tycoon Sunil Mittal won an auction for bankrupt satellite operator OneWeb, with each committing to invest $500 million in return for a 45% stake. OneWeb has been building a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide internet services outside urban areas, similar to Elon Musks SpaceX Starlink system.

      Part of the U.K.‘s interest in supporting OneWeb was its potential to be part of a new national navigation system, after the European Union froze Britain out of the most secure elements of the bloc’s GPS-like system, called Galileo. The U.K. will continue to be a member of the European Space Agency, which doesnt come under the European Union.

      The Shetland Space Center will be designed to be able to support satellite launch vehicles developed by multiple operators, similar to an airport, the statement said. The Shetland Islands are located between Great Britain and Norway, and are a part of Scotland.

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