Space Hub Sutherland

Supporting UK's Space Hub in Sutherland.


Exciting plans are taking shape to launch satellites into space from the Scottish Highlands.

In July 2018, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) announced that it was backing our ambitious proposals to develop a vertical launch site at The Moine, Sutherland.

Our board has approved £17.3m to support the project, now called Space Hub Sutherland (SHS). This includes the UKSA’s £2.5m and £9.8m from HIE itself. The remaining £5m is being sought from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Conditions attached to the Board’s approval include the need to identify and deliver local community benefits.

What the funding will bring 

The launch site is expected to create around 40 highly skilled jobs in Sutherland. At a regional level, we estimate this figure will multiply to 400 jobs by 2023, with launch activities in Sutherland making the site the hub of a significant new space sector.

Memoranda of understanding have been signed with two launch operators, Lockheed Martin and Orbex, which were also awarded UKSA funding. It is anticipated that up to six launches will be carried out annually, with the first taking place in the early 2020s. 

During 2019, our staff are busy developing detailed plans to make this vision a reality.

As well as focusing on delivering economic benefits, including jobs, training and supply chain opportunities, it will be vital to gather robust evidence that will ensure environmental and community impacts are fully assessed. 

The project will have to meet strict regulations, and will be subject to a rigorous planning process, including public consultation.

We will be sharing information widely as its plans develop, both online and through a programme of open meetings and other events. The aim is to give local people and those involved in taking the project forward the chance to share information, review progress and discuss all aspects.

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This is a high profile, complex and innovative project that we expect to generate many social and economic benefits for different parts of the region, including around 400 new well-paid skilled jobs.
Roy Kirk, Project Director, HIE


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Key Contacts

Roy Kirk

Project Director

Roy was appointed as Project Director for SHS in 2018. Prior to that he was the Area Manager for Caithness and Sutherland since 2008, responsible for delivering growth in local businesses, developing sectoral growth in key sectors, strengthening communities and regional development.

David Howie

Programme Head

David joined the SHS team as Programme Head in February 2018 to oversee programme development in the space hub. Previously he was the Regional Head of Innovation and Technology after joining us from the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) where he led a team of manufacturing practitioners delivering around 60 projects a year with businesses across the north of Scotland.

Pete Guthrie

Senior Programme Manager

Pete has worked with us since 2013 and has extensive experience of working on a wide range of community development projects as the Head of Strengthening Communities. This work included the roll-out of superfast broadband to many thousands of remote and rural households. He joined the Space Hub Sutherland project team in 2018.

June Love

Stakeholder Relations and Communications

June has worked with us on a secondment basis from Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) since 2014, initially to support inward investment activities identified through the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership. In 2018 her secondment role was changed to support the delivery of stakeholder engagement for the Space Hub Sutherland project.

Michelle Sutherland

Project and Administration Support

Michelle joined us in 2017 supporting the Business Transformation programme, before joining the SHS project full-time in April 2019. Michelle's role at SHS is to provide project and administrative support, and co-ordinate the office requirements.