As previously reported, a new vertical launch site for satellites is being prepared by Shetland Space centre (SSC); the base for the operation has been cited as Saxa Vord, a former air force base, at UK’s most northern inhabited island of Unst.
The launch complex will be large enough to launch small rockets fitted with small satellite payloads, and will also include a ground operations station.
Only a handful of government and commercial clients will be able to access and use the Shetland spaceport. However, it has been predicted that the rugged outpost will also attract a large number of tourists eager to view the first rocket launches from Scotland.
Leonne International, a private equity firm, has formed a strategic partnership with the Shetland Space centre and offered a significant financial boost to the launch enterprise, including a £2 million investment.
During a series of exhibitions on Unst in early May, the general public will have the opportunity to view plans and to comment on the proposals.
The next month, a full-planning submission will be prepared and ready.
While the Shetland spaceport is expected to be fully functioning by 2021, some initial test launches may even take place later this year.
Frank Strang, chief executive of Shetland Space centre, states that the battle has waged for three years to recognize Unst’s position as a prime location for the spaceport; however the space center project is now in a strong position to proceed – starting with the public consultations.
Frank also offers his thanks to the people from within the industry and locally who have provided him with tremendous support; he states that exciting times are ahead for the Shetland Space centre team. He says that the space port is ready to deliver a new branch of the space industry for the UK, Scotland, Shetland, and Unst.
Is There Anything Similar To The Shetland Spacecentre Being Done Elsewhere?
Meanwhile, a £17.3 million project, lead by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, is working to develop a site on Sutherland’s A’Mhoine peninsula. If everything works out according to the set plans, the project will be capable of blasting off within two years. Additionally, it has also been estimated that the site will be able to initiate 12 launches each year by 2024. This project is almost identical to the one Shetland space centre is working on.