Shetland Space Centre: The story so far

12th Mar 2020
Shetland Space Centre: The story so far
Shetland space centre is one of the candidates for suborbital and orbital launches in the UK. This facility will be located on the most northernly UK island of Unst in the Shetland Isles.
Shetland Space Centre

From project plan to first partners

Shetland Space Center Ltd was founded in 2017 by Frank Strang, the owner of the Saxa Vord Resort, a former RAF facility. Mr. Strang is also a director of Shetland FM, a company providing accommodation and logistics. On 28th – 31st May 2018, the project was presented at Shetland Space Week. Representatives of the space industry of UK, North America, and Europe attended this conference. In summer, the Shetland Space Centre started cooperating with B2Space company, while Faroese Telecom joined this project in the autumn.

The Success of 2019 and first major investment

In early 2019, Shetland Space Centre announced a partnership with ArianeGroup. ArianeGroup’s goal in this project is to define a concept and evaluate a range of available missions. In the middle of last year, cooperation with B2 Space took a new turn. On June 14, BaltaSound Airport completed a test launch of their Rockoon baloon, designed for small satellite launch and based on the “balloon-rocket” principle. The balloon lifts a small rocket to a height of about 35 km. From there, the rocket delivers small satellites to required orbits. Raptor Aerospace Ltd. joined this project in autumn. This company from Norfolk took over the supply of equipment for training and simulation. On February 19, 2020, the project attracted an investment of 2 million pounds from Leonne International company in exchange for a 20% equity stake in the business. This was great news for Shetland as, unlike other UK spaceports, Shetland space centre has not receive any funding from the UK Space Agency. This project is fully funded by small private investments.

Project launch is due in 2021

Over the past two and a half years, Shetland space centre has been working with well established space entities and new players. The project is supported by Scottish enterprise and universities, as well as the Munich Technical University. The project team plan to commission the spaceport and its ground-based complex at some point next year. Initially, Shetland Space centre was supposed to start working in 2020, but now, this date has been postponed.
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