We assumed the idea of a spaceport in rural Scotland was an April Fool's joke with a really, really long gestation period, but apparently not. Architects have been engaged and told to draw up plans for a real, working, genuine spaceport. For Scotland.
It's all being backed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a Scottish rural agency that we are more used to seeing talking about broadband speeds, insulation grants, and coffee mornings that raised £37 to partially fund a shared dog grooming workspace. But now it's banging on about Space Hub Sutherland, and the fact that several organisations, including the UK Space Agency, have contributed a huge total of £17.3m to help design and build a rocket launch facility that'll let sheep and crofters at the very top of Scotland watch actual rockets launch small satellites.
2019 should be a landmark year for the Scottish launch industry, as once the team of architects – led by Norr Consultants – has drawn up the plans for the launch pad and buildings, final permission can be sought from the council to actually build... a spaceport. In Scotland. They'd better also build a massive Premier Inn next door to it, as we'll all be visiting for launches. [Space Hub Sutherland via BBC]