Britain wants to build its first spaceport for launching satellites in Scotland, with the government kick-starting the project by handing almost 30 million pounds ($40 million) in grants to companies including Lockheed Martin (LMT.N).
UK Business Minister Greg Clark said the new site at Sutherland on the northerly-most tip of mainland Scotland would provide facilities for vertically-launched space rockets and satellites to take off into orbit.
Under the plans announced on Monday, U.S. group Lockheed and its partners will receive 23.5 million pounds in grants from the UK Space Agency which will go toward establishing launch operations at Sutherland and developing a new system for deploying small satellites in Reading, southern England.
London-based Orbex has received 5.5 million pounds to build a new rocket launch from the site at Sutherland, which will help develop its orbital launch vehicle to deliver the small satellites into orbit.
The government said the investments were the first steps to developing a national space program.