Views sought on Shetland spaceport plan

Published by BBC News, 10 Novenber, 2022

An environmental assessment of plans to launch satellites into space from a site in Shetland has gone out for consultation

  • Views have been sought on an environmental assessment of Shetland’s planned SaxaVord spaceport
  • A launch pad complex and tracking stations have been proposed for a site on Unst
  • Up to 30 vertical launches a year could take place from the spaceport
  • The launches would avoid inhabited areas and oil fields

An environmental assessment of Shetland’s planned SaxaVord spaceport has been put out for consultation.

Up to 30 vertical rocket launches a year over a period of 30 years have been proposed from the site under construction at Lamba Ness on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland islands.

The launch vehicles would be between 13m (43ft) and 30m (98ft) in height and carry small satellites into space.

Details in the consultation documents include safety commitments, such as no rocket launches over inhabited areas of Shetland, oil fields, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

There would also be no launches or static rocket tests carried out between mid-May and the end of June to avoid disturbing breeding birds.

Unst’s 135 bird species include red-throated divers, merlins, puffins and Arctic terns.

Among the spaceport’s expected economic impact is the creation of more than 200 jobs in Shetland.

The environmental assessment, external forms part of the project’s licence application to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The public consultation closes on 8 December.

Proposed for Lamba Ness are a launch pad complex, tracking stations and hangar buildings on a site of about 198 acres (80 hectares).

Shetland Islands Council granted planning permission in February.

American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and Edinburgh-based Skyrora are among the companies looking at launching satellites from Unst.

In Scotland, spaceports have also been proposed for Sutherland in the Highlands and a site in the Western Isles.

See: Original Article