Space centre plans Unst airfield regeneration
Shetland Space Centre (SSC) plans to regenerate the Ordale airfield at Baltasound in Unst.
SSC envisages the site as a “space industry hub”, which will be used for fuel and equipment storage, as well as housing small business incubators supporting spaceflight activity on the island.
The site, which is less than five kilometres from SSC’s proposed launch site at Lamba Ness, was first opened in 1968 and served fixed-wing and helicopter traffic for the North Sea oil and gas industry until 1996. It was used in 2019 for the test launch of a balloon by B2Space in conjunction with SSC.
SSC said it was an “important step” in attracting the international space industry to the isles.
The company intends to refurbish the airfield lighting system and hangar for clients to be able to use the 640-metre runway.
SSC chief executive Frank Strang said: “Without doubt having an airfield with associated infrastructure close to the launch site is a huge benefit to the embryonic Shetland space industry, and is another reason along with its location why Shetland is seen as the optimal place for vertical launch activity in the UK.
“The airfield will not be as busy as it was in the early 1990s, but this will be the first step towards bringing in limited commercial traffic.”