Scotland’s ‘Space Port’ concept could be ideal

A new space port built on one of the Scottish Shetland Isles could make an ideal location for launching certain types of satellite, according to a report from the UK Space Agency.

The Agency is currently involved in a series of ‘roadshows’  (LaunchUK) and public open evenings to explain the concept. The Agency says new legislation would be needed and the Agency is currently looking at a total of 26 proposals.

“These initial missions from the UK will pave the way for a commercial launch market, where multiple small satellite launch vehicles and sub-orbital spaceplanes could pursue rising global demand from a number of UK spaceports,” states the Space Agency.

“Launch companies that choose to base themselves in the UK will benefit from access to the UK’s world class space and aerospace manufacturers on their doorstep. The LaunchUK roadshows aim to raise awareness of this opportunity and the wider benefits of having launch capability in the UK – to companies in the supply chain, for example.”

The Shetland Space Centre is one of those proposals. The UK Space Agency has already singled out Saxa Vord on the north of the island as the preferred site for satellite launches. “The site offering the maximum payload mass to orbit is Saxa Vord in the Shetlands, from where direct launch is possible to both SSO [Sun-Synchronous] as well as Polar orbits,” according to the Highlands & Islands Enterprise, in its recent Sceptre Report.

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