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Business / Space centre looks to Saxa Vord as it undergoes name change and rebrand

SHETLAND Space Centre is changing its name as part of a rebrand to “position itself at the heart of the new space economy in Europe”.

The project, which aims to launch rockets from Unst from next year onwards, is now called SaxaVord Spaceport.

The company’s owners said they recognised the time was right to be clear about its “vision, mission, values and behaviours”.

The rocket launch site and Lamba Ness and ground station is already the designated site for next year’s government-backed UK Pathfinder launch by Lockheed Martin and ABL Systems.

The project needs to secure planning permission before construction can start.

Saxa Vord is the name of the highest hill in Unst (935ft) which overlooks both the proposed launch site and the former RAF Saxa Vord base where launch control and mission support personnel will be accommodated.

In Norse mythology, Saxa was a giant who lived on the hill, while across the water resided Herma, hence Hermaness. For amusement, they threw huge boulders at one another.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “Having bought the former RAF Saxa Vord base back in 2005, and worked for many years looking for a theme for the Saxa Vord Resort, it was really a case of back to the future with the name change.

“We have always spoken of the progression in Shetland from the Viking age to the space age, in fact ‘from the Longship to the Spaceship’ is a strap line we use on our pop up stands, and the new name evokes that wonderfully.

“SaxaVord Spaceport is the home of the UK Space Agency’s Vertical Launch Pathfinder Programme and will become a successful, internationally-recognised new space business with safety and superior value being our hallmarks.”

Aberdeen-based marketing agency Azzurro Blu was selected to undertake the rebranding work and to provide ongoing marketing support.

Creative manager Emma Beaton said: “The history of the business, its commitment to the local community, and its powerful vision to be an important part of the ‘new space’ industry, combine to create a thoroughly compelling brand.”