Credit: Highlands and Islands Enterprise

There has been a go-ahead for Space Hub Sutherland to be constructed near Melness on the northern coast of Scotland.

Orbex, the UK-based space launch company, has confirmed that Orbex Prime will be the first vertical launch vehicle to fly into orbit from the Space Hub.

The Highland Council’s decision will allow Orbex to complete the detailed scoping of its own launch site installation.

Credit: Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Recoverable and re-usable

Orbex Prime will use renewable biofuels to deliver an ultra-low CO2 footprint. The Orbex vehicle is intended to be recoverable and re-usable, normally leaving no debris in the ocean or in orbit around the Earth.

In January, the European Space Agency awarded Orbex a contract under its Future Launchers Preparatory Program covering the further development of REFLIGHT, a near zero-mass reusability system which will allow stage one boosters to be recovered and reused in multiple missions.

Credit: Orbex

“The Highland Council’s approval of the spaceport is a landmark in the history of spaceflight in Europe and will place the community around Tongue, Melness and Skerray, the Highlands Region, Scotland and the United Kingdom at the very heart of the European space launch industry,” said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, in a press statement.

The planning application for Sutherland Space Hub was submitted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


The first launch could be as early as 2022. Once the spaceport is fully operational, it could host up to 12 launches a year.

Space Hub Sutherland is proposed to be built on an area of peatland next to the A838 on the Melness Crofters Estate on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, around six miles from Tongue.

Launch-related infrastructure will include a control center, over one-and-a half miles (2.5 kilometers) of road and a launch pad, occupying a total of just over 10 acres of the 740-acre site.

A new video of the proposed Space Hub can be found here:

For more information on Orbex, go to:

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