Spaceport’s successful test paves way for blast-off later this year

A successful test has paved the way for the first Shetland spaceflight later this year.

SaxaVord Spaceport this week carried out pre-launch exercises to test the processes and procedures.

Although poor weather prevented the planned launch of a small rocket, as initially planned, the spaceport team said a huge amount was learned.

Operation Freya was the first in a series of tests in the build up to blast off from Lamba Ness in Unst later this year.

Had the weather been favourable, a one metre, 3D-printed rocket named Odysseus would have been launched by members of the Oxford University Rocketry Society.

SaxaVord range officer Jimmy Slaughter said: “We learned an enormous amount from this dress rehearsal, which involved transporting the rocket to the site and setting it up on a launch rail, then running through all our procedures and protocols up to the point of launch.

 “The decision not to launch, which is of course not uncommon in the space industry, was made for safety reasons based on very accurate forecasting from a representative of the Met Office on site.”

 Mr Slaughter said plans were already being made for a follow-up test exercise within the next few months.


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