Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is seeking to establish Space Hub Sutherland to help meet the UK’s ambitions in the growing international space market.
Up to 12 launches a year could take place from the A’ Mhoine peninsula in Scotland, sending small, commercial satellites into orbit for Earth observation, monitoring, and understanding climate change.
Specialist surveyors BAM Nuttall and Arup, acting on behalf of HIE, began detailed ground investigations at Melness Crofters Estate on Wednesday.
The team will explore sections of the 4.2-hectare site to establish the sequence and thickness of the soil strata and the level of bedrock beneath.
Laboratory testing of peat, soil, and rock samples will then be conducted, with the findings being used to inform detailed design of foundations, access roads, and spaceport infrastructure.
Groundwater conditions, the ground gas regime, and any contamination that may be present on the site will also be examined as part of the investigation.
Standpipes to monitor gas and ground water will remain on site for a short period following the survey.
HIE says an environmental clerk of works will be present to ensure that all steps are taken to avoid and mitigate any disturbance to landscape and wildlife.
The ground investigation is scheduled to last up to six weeks.
HIE gained approval to establish the spaceport from Highland Council last summer; however, the decision is being challenged by neighbouring landowner Wildland UK, owned by billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen.
A judicial review is due to be held in June.
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