News round-up / First space flight, student accommodation needed, careless driving investigation

Lamba Ness in Unst where Shetland Space Centre proposes to build a commercial satellite launch base. Photo: Shetland Space Centre
Lamba Ness in Unst where Shetland Space Centre proposes to build a commercial satellite launch base. Photo: Shetland Space Centre

THE UK’s first commercial spaceflight-related activity will take place in Shetland this weekend with the test launch of a stratospheric balloon for a system that will eventually deliver small satellites into orbit.

The innovative launch system has been developed by Bristol-based B2Space, one of the first companies to partner with the Shetland Space Centre (SSC).


B2Space Co-founder Valentin Canales said: “We will be sending a smaller version of the balloon that we will eventually use up to a height of around 37km, carrying a complete set of instruments, trackers and control boards, as well as beaming back live images from an on-board camera.”

This technology of launching a rocket from a high-altitude balloon takes advantage of skipping the highest density part of the atmosphere which allows a more optimised design and a more cost-effective solution to launch small and micro satellites into low earth orbit.

SSC project director Scott Hammond said: “The B2Space balloon launch is the first tangible spaceflight activity in Unst and will mark a truly ground breaking day for Shetland Space Centre, the islands as a whole, Scotland and the UK.


The test launch is scheduled to take place at Baltasound Airport in Unst on Sunday, weather-permitting.

SHETLAND College UHI is calling on local people to consider letting spare rooms to meet the growing demand for student accommodation.

Plans to build student accommodation at the former HNP Engineers site on Commercial Road in Lerwick came to nothing when the main investor pulled out two years ago.


Now Shetland is becoming a “destination university’ according to Shetland College due to strong industry links.

Operations manager Rory Gillies said:  “It’s incredibly positive that we are in a position to be getting this increased demand.

“Many people have a spare room. We are asking for people who would consider letting a spare room to a student to come forward, so we can let students know it is available. It’s a kind of Shetland match.com for students and rooms.”

An information pack can be provided for potential landlords and landladies, which spells out all the pros and cons of letting and the issues the colleges can help with, along with information on how you can register your rooms. Email ruth.campbell@uhi.ac.uk for this information.

POLICE are looking into another alleged incident of careless driving which was reported to have been taken place at around 8.45am on the A970 just south of the village of Voe on 2 July.

A black vehicle, travelling north at the time, is said to have forced another road user to take evasive action.

Anyone who has witnessed the incident is asked to contact the local police force either by phoning 101 or calling along Lerwick Police Station.