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Business / Space centre to set up Munich base in bid to target European market

The space centre at Lamba Nessin Unst is expected to create hundreds of jobs in Shetland and further afield.Image: Shetland Space Centre

SHETLAND Space Centre is set to launch an office in Germany in a bid to showcase the project to the European space industry.

Chief executive Frank Strang said the operation will be based in Munich, with a sales office the focal point.

He said it is “important to understand that the space centre is very much an international facility and much of our target market is in Europe, and as such it is very important that we establish a presence in Europe”.

Shetland Space Centre aims to establish satellite launch facilities in Unst, with the planning process underway.

The move to launch a German subsidiary company based in Munich was signed off by the Shetland Space Centre board on Thursday, Strang said.

The state of Bavaria in Germany, which includes Munich, is seen as a growing hub of space activity and this is one region in particular Shetland Space Centre is looking to tap into.

“The German office will act as a sales office to the European space market showcasing Shetland to the industry,” Strang said.

“It will encourage both launch providers and satellite operators to launch and manufacture on Shetland.

“It will allow us to further our relationship with the universities over there such as the Technical University of Munich who are right at the heart of the new space industry producing high quality graduates and space entrepreneurs.”

Strange said the space centre’s competition is “Norway and Sweden, and the rest of Europe is looking for somewhere to launch from and call their own”.

“We intend to send a message and extend an invitation for the European space industry to operate from Shetland.”

Strang said the Munich operation will be run by Robin Huber, who has been “promoting the SSC to industry and the Bavarian Government”.

“The Scottish Government has a long standing concordat with Bavaria and notwithstanding Brexit we envisage developing very strong links with Germany and also France based out of our office in Munich,” he added.

A second round of public consultation on the space centre plans, meanwhile, will be held in October.

It has applied for planning permission to build a vertical launch spaceport, including a launch pad complex, mobile tracking stations and assembly/integration hangar buildings with associated security fencing, access and servicing at Lamba Ness.

It also intends to create a launch and range control centre at Saxa Vord and construct a new section of access road at Northdale, just north of the former RAF base.