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Isles to be showcased to space industry

A FOUR-day event will be held in Shetland next month in a bid to showcase the proposed satellite launch site in Unst and local businesses to key members of the space industry.

The invitation-only Shetland Space Week, which will take place between 28-31 May, will see guests from the public and private sectors from the UK, Europe and North America visit the isles.

Last year businessman Frank Strang announced plans to apply for a licence to create a spaceport in Unst which could enable the launching of small satellites.

It is said to have already received interest from national and international space companies due to its location and unobstructed route into orbit.

Frank Strang.

The event will be hosted by Shetland Space Centre, Shetland Islands Council and the local arm of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Head of HIE Shetland Rachel Hunter said the event would also allow local companies which could help in the construction and running of the space centre to showcase themselves.

“This has the potential to be very exciting for local businesses, and we will be inviting them to a ‘meet the buyer’ event, where they can highlight their capabilities, honed and developed over the decades supporting oil and gas, aquaculture and renewables,” she said.

Shetland Space Centre director Frank Strang added: “The Shetland Space Centre team believes strongly that the sophisticated and experienced supply chain on-island, allied to its geography and infrastructure, will ultimately ensure that Shetland plays a pivotal role in the future growth of the UK’s and Scotland’s space industry.

“We are really looking forward to hosting a wide range of industry representatives and showing them what Shetland has to offer.”

A law was recently passed by government which will allow the UK Space Agency to licence satellite launch sites.

While a round of funding is available to kick-start the industry in the UK, Strang previously said the Shetland Space Centre team would still apply for a licence even if it loses out on funding due to the level of interest from launch providers.