Shetland spaceport proposals submitted to local authority


Proposals for a spaceport complex to launch small rockets with satellite payloads from the UK’s most northerly island have been formally submitted.

Shetland Space Centre (SSC) wishes to build a vertical launch pad complex in Unst, Shetland, to begin operations in 2021.

A privately-funded company, SSC has already secured significant commitments and formed a series of strategic partnerships with leading international space and aerospace industry players, one of which has stated that Unst is the best site in Europe.

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to comment on the SSC proposals during a series of exhibitions in the island of Unst in early May after its formal proposal of application notice was submitted to the local authority, Shetland Islands Council. A full planning submission will be made in June.

In what is deemed by planning legislation to be a “major application”, SSC is seeking permission to build a vertical launch spaceport, including a launch pad complex, mobile tracking stations and assembly/integration hangar buildings with associated security fencing, access and servicing at Lamba Ness.

It also intends to create launch control and range control centres at the Saxa Vord Resort complex and to construct a new section of access road just north of the former RAF base. The latter will be the subject of two smaller separate planning applications.

SSC CEO Frank Strang said: “After a three-year battle to win recognition for Unst’s position as a prime location for launching small vertical rockets into space, we are now in a position to go to the public with our proposals.

“We have been delighted with the tremendous support we have locally and within the industry.

“This is a hugely exciting time for myself and the SSC team. Together with all our partners, we stand ready to deliver a whole new branch of the space industry for Unst, Shetland, Scotland and the UK.”

The public exhibitions will be held at the Saxa Vord Resort in Unst on 5th, 6th and 7th May from 12-7pm each day.

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