Shetland’s ambitions to build a new space industry have taken another leap forward – after a Canadian company agreed to to use it as its primary launch facility.
Space technology company C6 Launch Systems announced it had signed a letter of intent to use the Shetland Space Centre (SSC) in Unst.
C6’s president Richard McCammon aid the SSC was the “perfect” launch partner.
“Shetland Space Centre will provide all the infrastructure from launchpad to data communications and tracking that we could ask for,” he added.
“Being at the northernmost location in Scotland gives us the latitude we need to insert nano satellites to the perfect orbit.”
The initial launches will be for 30kg payloads at a 600km sun synchronous orbits, which means the satellite passes over any given point on the earth at the same time each day.
Other orbits, altitudes and payloads are also planned.
Shetland Space Centre will house all launch operation facilities, payload processing and integration/assembly facilities.
It will also house multiple launch pads and a variety of operational and security services.
SSC’s chief executive Frank Strang said: “We are looking forward greatly to this collaboration with C6 Launch Systems.
“Richard and his team have been very clear about their needs and hugely supportive of our plans to provide a route to market for small satellites here in Shetland.”
Mr Strang said the UK’s small satellite launch services market was estimated to be worth $5.5 billion from 2021-30.
SSC recently completed its first community consultation as part of the process toward approval and licensing of launch operations by the UK Government.
It expects to complete all submissions to the UK Government by the autumn of this year in order to be approved for launch operations in 2021.