Ex-NATO Spy Base ‘Golf Ball’ to Transform into Kinross Space Museum with New Funding

26th Sep 2023
Ex-NATO Spy Base ‘Golf Ball’ to Transform into Kinross Space Museum with New Funding

Balado’s historic radar site, ‘Golf Ball’, gets a new lease on life as Kinross Space Museum and has received a significant financial boost with an extra £300,000 in funding from Westminster.

Nestled on the grounds of the former RAF Bridge site lies the distinctive Balado Satellite Ground Station, famously resembling a golf ball. This unique structure once served as a home for a now-inactive Nato Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) early warning radar. Aero Space Kinross aims to establish a brand-new museum at this location.

This project hopes to inspire young people in Scotland to consider careers in aerospace-related fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Additional funding for Aero Space Kinross

The project, will benefit from the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund. The Kinross Space Museum will be located at the Aero Space Scientific Education Trust’s Station House in Kinross, a place inaugurated by the Princess Royal in 1985.

The Balado Satellite Ground Station is a distinctive piece of history, offering a rare opportunity for those with an interest in military and aerospace heritage. Its circular design, resembling a golf ball, has captured the curiosity of many, making it an iconic landmark in the area.

While it may have served a vital role in the past, the radar is no longer in operation, and the site is now open to new possibilities.

Previously, Aero Space Kinross secured £1.6 million, approved by the Tay Cities Region Deal Joint Committee, to support this initiative. Additionally, £250,000 was successfully raised by allowing individuals to invest through tax-free bonds.

The upcoming museum is set to feature exhibits on rockets, satellites, space navigation, the solar system, and the history of space exploration. Prominent space organizations like NASA and SpaceX will also contribute their exhibits. The leaders of this project hope that the new museum will encourage young visitors to explore careers in the science and technology sector.

What’s the government’s Community Ownership Fund?

The UK Government has allocated just under £1 million in its latest round of awards from the Community Ownership Fund. The Kinross-based project is among four initiatives chosen to receive funding from this program. The primary goal is to inspire young people to pursue STEM careers in aerospace-related fields once the centre is established.

This program operates like the “levelling up” programme introduced by Boris Johnson when he became Prime Minister in 2019. Government officials emphasize that the Community Ownership Fund primarily revitalises old institutions such as local museums, pubs, and clubs, benefiting communities across the UK.

Mid Scotland and Fife Tory MSP Liz Smith said: “This investment is a fantastic boost for the local area.

“It is vital for Scotland’s growth and economy that we make sure young people are equipped with the skills to succeed in a changing workforce. This centre will help to inspire children and young people into the science, tech, engineering and maths careers that will be vital for our future economy.”

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