A deal has been struck to begin launching rockets from Shetland next year – as part of plans to capitalise on Scotland’s emerging multibillion pound space industry.
British company Skyrora has today (Tuesday) announced the multi-launch deal with SaxaVord Space Port in Unst.
Skyroroa, which carried out a test launch from Fethaland last summer, hopes the new deal could see the first rocket go into space from UK soil.
It comes in addition to the UK Pathfinder programme, which Lockheed Martin will lead from the SVSP.
The agreement will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards its target of 16 launches a year by 2030.
Volodymyr Levykin, Skyrora’s founder and chief executive, said: “We have made no secret of our ambition to be the first company to launch from UK soil so it’s really exciting to agree to this multi-launch deal with SaxaVord.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of space innovation in the UK, deploying our assets and helping to unlock exciting opportunities as part of the new space economy.
“The UK is a world leader in space technology, and this latest move brings us another crucial step closer to offering a significant space service from our own soil.”
According to a study by Scottish Enterprise last year, forecast income from Scotland’s space sector could reach over £2 billion by 2030 with plans to double income to £4 billion while providing data solutions to combat climate change.
This launch agreement is expected to build on the development of the Scottish space sector in recent years, creating more jobs in an industry that has already grown 12 per cent year-on-year.
SVSP chief executive Frank Strang said: “As we look forward to launches from Unst next year, this is yet another exciting development and we look forward to working with the Skyrora team to help them meet their goal of delivering their XL rocket into orbit.
“The SaxaVord Spaceport location and the can-do attitude of our team mean we are perfectly placed to support Skyrora’s endeavours.”
Once operational, the SaxaVord spaceport is expected to create 140 jobs locally, with an additional 70 jobs across the Shetland.
Shetland Space Centre recently changed its name to SaxaVord Spaceport, rebranding to position itself at the heart of the new space economy in Europe.