International US-based arms trade giant Lockheed Martin is currently part of at least two bids to build space stations in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
The US-firm is set to receive £23.7 million from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Space Agency to build a rocket spaceport on the Melness Crofting Estate in Sutherland.
The project has divided the local community, which has suffered from a lack of investment and job creation for years. Whilst the idea of skilled jobs has been welcomed, concerns have been voiced about Lockheed’s involvement in the programme, as well as the environmental damage that could occur as a result. The site is located on the edges of the Flow Country, Europe’s largest peat bog, which play a key part of Scotland’s carbon capture and climate change targets.
Lockheed’s involvement has raised many red flags to peace campaigners, especially as it has been confirmed they have made enquiries to use the site once it is open. Highlands and Islands Enterprise have stated the site will not be built for military usage, but conceded that some of the satellites launched from the site could be used to gather imagery and data used in military action and bombing campaigns.
Lockheed have also expressed a desire to use another proposed spaceport on Unst in Shetland, which is currently in the early stages of development with proposals submitted in March.
Lockheed Martin are the biggest supplier of arms and military equipment to the US military, and the largest arms producer in the world. They are also major contractors to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have both been accused of war crimes during their bombing and military campaigns in Yemen.