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Business / Spaceport set to host exhibition before lodging full planning application

An artist's impression of what the space centre at the Lamba Ness site may look like. Image: Shetland Space Centre

THE COMPANY behind plans to build a multi-million pound spaceport to launch small satellites into orbit from the island of Unst is going public with their plans in an exhibition in May.

Shetland Space Centre said it has now submitted a formal proposal of application notice to Shetland Islands Council prior to a full planning submission in June.

The company recently secured a £2 million funding boost from private investment firm Leonne International, and there are also unconfirmed reports that aerospace giant Lockheed Martin might be in the process of switching its support for the proposed Sutherland spaceport to Shetland Space Centre.

SSC chief executive Frank Strang said: “After a three-year battle to win recognition for Unst’s position as a prime location for launching small vertical rockets into space, we are now in a position to go to the public with our proposals.”

The company is seeking permission to build a vertical launch spaceport, including a launch pad complex, mobile tracking stations and assembly hangar buildings with associated security fencing, access and servicing at Lamba Ness at the northeast tip of Unst.

It also intends to create launch and range control centres at the Saxa Vord Resort complex and to construct a new section of access road through Northdale, which is situated just north of the former RAF base. The latter will be the subject of two smaller separate planning applications.

Strang continued: “We have been delighted with the tremendous support we have had in Unst and hope that as many people as possible can make it to the exhibitions. If you can’t make it along, you will be able to comment online.

“This is a hugely exciting time for myself and the SSC team. Together with all our partners, we stand ready to deliver a whole new branch of the space industry for Unst, Shetland, Scotland and the UK.”

The public exhibitions will be held at the Saxa Vord Resort in Unst on 5, 6 and 7 May from 12-7pm each day.

A dedicated section of the Shetland Space Centre website will also be created to allow anyone unable to attend the exhibitions to comment. This will be available from 5 May until two weeks after the exhibitions.