Sunday 25 February 2024
 6.5°C   W Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Balloon launch a ‘giant leap for Unst’

Unst test ballon launch. Photo: Shetland Space Centre

A TEST launch of a stratospheric balloon in Unst at the weekend for a system that could eventually lead to small satellites being launched into orbit has been hailed a “huge success”.

Bristol firm B2Space launched the balloon on Sunday at Baltasound Airport as a crowd looked on.

A second balloon launch planned for today (Monday), however, will no longer be taking place.

Shetland Space Centre said that B2Space’s co-founders “now intend to set up a permanent base here, with a view eventually to launching their innovative rockoon system that will use balloons to hoist rockets into the upper atmosphere before they are launched into space”.

In the meantime the firm will continue to deploy balloons to conduct a variety of near-space tests.

Shetland Space Centre founder Frank Strang said to “paraphrase Neil Armstrong’s immortal quote… ‘one giant leap for Unst and Shetland, one small step for UK space’.”

“I’m very proud of the effort put in by the team and all the local businesses that have supported us to make it happen,” he said.

“It showcased the Shetland supply chain and the can-do approach of Shetland when it puts its mind to it. A big thank you to all the Unst folk who patiently came out to watch. It was hugely appreciated.”

Valentin Canales and Victor Montero, co-founders of B2Space, said: “We are very pleased with how the test launch has gone

“We have a large amount of data to analyse, but from what we know already we can confirm that we intend to set up a base here in Unst in preparation for future launches.

“Interest from ESA and the UK Space Agency is huge. We know the technology will work, and this launch was the first step, with many more to come.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Canales previously said the balloon would contain a complete set of instruments, trackers and control boards, while live images would be beamed back from an on-board camera.

“The purpose of the test flight is to confirm our ability to operate from Shetland by gathering data, adding to the theoretical study that we have carried out on the last 15 years of weather data,” he said earlier this month.

The balloon launch is the first piece of tangible spaceflight activity in Unst.

Shetland Space Centre wants to create a satellite launch facility at Lamba Ness and also a satellite tracking and communication centre.

Project director Scott Hammond said about Sunday’s launch: “The SSC team, local firms and the community has come together to make this happen – and this the model for going forward not only to more balloon launches but to a rocket launch site and ground station by 2020-21.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.