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SaxaVord gets full building permission

May 26, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Scottish satellite launch operator SaxaVord, which is developing a satellite launch facility at Unst in the Shetland Isles, has received its final planning approvals.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will not call-in plans for SaxaVord Spaceport’s Launch and Range Control Centre (LRCC) and for a new section of road to improve access to the launch site. This approval allows SaxaVord to continue with its planned development, granting the spaceport the opportunity to progress construction efforts this summer.

The LRCC and road applications were submitted separately to the main vertical rocket launch site application for the Lamba Ness peninsula in Unst, which was approved by Scottish ministers in March.

The LRCC will be situated in the former Valhalla Brewery building at the ex-RAF Saxa Vord site, while the new road is earmarked for Northdale in Unst. The new road will allow customers to easily access the launch site from SaxaVord’s main site.

Prior to the planned construction works on the spaceport site, all roadworks will be completed.

SaxaVord CEO Frank Strang said: “These are the final two pieces of the planning jigsaw, the LRCC and the Northdale road, following our success in obtaining planning permission for the launch site back in March. “With the preparatory works underway, we can look forward to a busy summer of construction work and ultimately to reaching our goal of the first UK vertical rocket launch later in the year.”

SaxaVord has received endorsement from the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) Sceptre Report and formed industry-leading partnerships. It has also been chosen to host the UKSA’s UK Pathfinder launch, which will be delivered by Lockheed Martin and ABL Systems, in 2022.

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