SHETLAND Space Centre has secured investment of £1.43 million from a company owned by a billionaire businessman and environmentalist.
It has received the minority investment from Wild Ventures Limited, a sister company to Wildland Limited.
It is wholly owned by Anders Holch Povlsen, the largest landowner in Scotland. His net worth is said to be around £4.5 billion.
Wild Ventures Limited was formed to facilitate direct investment into projects with potential long-term economic benefits for Scotland’s rural areas.
Wildland Limited already has history in the Scottish space race, having lodged a separate petition for judicial review of the planning approval for a proposed spaceport in Sutherland in the Highlands.
Shetland Space Centre CEO Frank Strang said: “They have done their diligence on the space economy and got to grips with their understanding of the industry and the commercial realities of the space sector.
“The Scottish Space Leadership Council and Scottish Spaceports Alliance are united in their belief that space is a force for good and that the technologies associated with the sector can be harnessed to support initiatives that protect the environment.
“All the various facets associated with the space sector, such as sustainability, STEM, education, business start-up, research and development and innovation, are core to the Wild Ventures ethos and we are completely aligned in our vision as to how space science and nature can combine to create an exemplar.”
It comes after aerospace giant Lockheed Martin shifted its UK satellite launch programme to Unst, bringing a major boost to the project.
Shetland Space Centre said that Wild Ventures Limited has “looked at all the prospective Scottish spaceport sites and they believe that the Shetland location combined with its business model affords the best chance for sustainable success for Scotland and the UK”.
Wild Ventures Limited’s Tim Kirkwood said: “We have long been supportive of the idea that, if developed appropriately, the space industry can deliver great benefits for Scotland’s rural economy. What is needed is the right development in the right place.
“As a project involving an ex-RAF base, a brownfield site, a promising location, and now with backing from HIE, the UKSA and Lockheed Martin, it has become clear that Shetland Space Centre is a realistic investment prospect to be asked to be involved with.”
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