The UK space race continues to gather momentum as sites based in Scotland gear up to follow England in the launching of commercial rockets. 

California-based Astra Space has signed an agreement with a spaceport in the Shetland Islands which could see a launch in the early part of 2023. 

With Astra Space already having successfully launched commercial missions from Kodiak Island in Alaska and Cape Canaveral in Florida, the company has now added a third name to its list of launch sites, that of the SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Islands with a view to the commencement of activity next year

Construction at the SaxaVord Spaceport is now underway, and alongside Astra Space, other companies have also committed themselves to utilising the facilities at the Islands, including the arms and aerospace corporation, Lockheed Martin. 

However, competition between Spaceports across the UK is fairly intense, with neighbouring Space Hub Sutherland seeing construction also underway. Based on the northern coast of Scotland, some 185 miles south of the Shetlands, Space Hub Sutherland has a similar goal of launching in 2023, this time though with a domestically-built rocket named Prime.

Spaceport Cornwall with its Newquay-based launch site remains in pole position to spearhead the first of the launches from UK Soil this Summer with Scotland next, then Wales. 

Wales' own spaceport at Llanbedr Airfield in Gwynedd continues to await any further developments of its own with no planned launch dates having been announced as of yet.

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