The proposed spaceport in north Sutherland offers more benefits to the area than just the direct jobs which it would create.
According to the public sector group paving the way for the venture, there would be other valuable spin-offs for existing businesses, tourism and inward investment.
The £17.5 million project would also give a huge boost to the drive to replace the high-quality jobs being lost as the nuclear plant at Dounreay runs down, according to group stakeholder relations manager June Love.
She is part of a four-strong Highlands and Islands Enterprise team in charge of preparing the way for the creation of a vertical launch pad on crofting land at the Moine, near Melness.
It is in line to generate 40 jobs locally by 2023 with a further 400 due to come on stream throughout the Highlands and Moray.
Lockheed Martin and Orbex are committed to the enterprise which would see small commercial satellites being launched into space.
Mrs Love said the jobs would be very welcome, with posts at the launch site likely to be filled by a mix of local people and incomers.
She said: “When we took the launch providers on a tour of the area, they were pretty gobsmacked by what we have here, with what is going on at Dounreay, the harbours at Wick and Scrabster, JGC Engineering, the battery factory in Thurso and so on.”
“We would also want to tap the potential for inward investment while there could be research and development opportunities for North Highland College UHI.”
The launch pad is also set to serve as a new tourist attraction.
She said: “We would expect an amazing number of people would want to come to see the first launch.
“Local people are already switched on to the tourist potential of the site and are looking to make as much of this as possible.”
Mrs Love added: “This is set to bring a fantastic boost to this area.
“There are still a lot of risks for the completion of the project but we think this is going to be a very valuable prize for this area in the drive to diversify away from Dounreay.”