Following planning approval from Shetland Islands Council it is anticipated that the construction of the UK’s first ever vertical launch spaceport could soon begin.
However, the planning approval gives Scottish Ministers the provision of a 28 day window to review the application by SaxaVord UK Spaceport. Construction can proceed if Scottish Ministers chooose not to call the application in for review, or call it in and agree that the project should proceed.
The spaceport, which is privately funded, is made up of three launchpads at the Lamba Ness peninsula in Unst. This is to allow the launch of small satelites into either polar or sun-synchronous, low-earth orbits.
It is hoped there will be up to 30 launches per year for launch service providers (LSPs) and to support industries and services such as media, telecommunications, weather and defence.
The timelines, according to the developer, are tight to meet the target of delivering the first orbital launch from UK soil after the third quarter of this year.
Frank Strang, CEO of SaxaVord Spaceport said that bringing space economy to Shetland has been the plan for the last five years and that the economic benefits already being felt are amazing. We have already teamed up with established Shetland companies such as Sandisons and Ocean Kinetics, together with local organisations created by Unst residents who wish to support this exciting project.
£48m and more will be spent over the next 18 months, rising to £100m in the next five years. The blasting and crushing of stone has already begun as we seek to clarify the conditions imposed on the developmet by HES, SIC and others as soon as possible. To ensure we can deliver this historic mission for Shetland, Scotland and the UK our team will do everything in its power.
Strang went on to say that a huge amount of suppot had been received from the people of Unst by the SaxaVord Spaceport team and that without that suport they would have struggled.