The UK Space Agency has selected a peninsula on Scotland’s north coast for country’s first vertical spaceport.

The agency said Sutherland, Scotland, was selected because it is the best place in the country to reach in-demand satellite orbits with vertically-launched rockets.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), a Scottish government agency, will be given £2.5m (R43 million) from the UK government to develop the spaceport, which could be up and running by the early 2020s.

Sutherland is the first vertical launch site to be awarded grant money, ahead of other vertical sites at Unst, Shetland, and North Uist in the Western Isles, the Guardian reported.

The spaceflight market is potentially worth £3.8bn (R66 billion) to the UK economy over the next decade, the UK Space Agency projected.

Greg Clark, Britain's Business Secretary, said he wants the country to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites.

“The UK’s thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites,” Clark said in a statement.

“This will build on our global reputation for manufacturing small satellites and help the whole country capitalise on the huge potential of the commercial space age.”

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