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Education / Guest speakers lined up for college’s first ‘Space 101 Day’

The SaxaVord space port is expected to host the first vertical satellite launching the UK late in 2022. Image: Rory Gillies for SaxaVord (UK) Spaceport

THE FIRST Shetland ‘Space 101 Day’ is being held next month online and in person.

The event, which offers people the chance to learn more about space and what this new industry could mean for the local community, is being organised by Shetland UHI in partnership with Saxavord UK Spaceport.

Talks on the day – Saturday 6 November – will be streamed on Shetland UHI’s Facebook. More details can be found here.

These talks, from both Shetland UHI academic staff and experts from further afield, will cover such diverse subjects as astronomy, archaeology, history and rocketry and explore how developments in Unst fit into Shetland’s past and future.

People will hear:

  • Dr Andrew Jennings exploring how our ancestors looked at the stars with an introduction to Celtic and Nordic astronomy
  • Dr Matjaz Vidmar looking at the essentials of stargazing with Astronomy 101
  • Dr Simon Clark examining the history and heritage of the Saxavord spaceport site
  • Dr Hina Khan explaining why space is such an important and growing part of the economy, with an introduction to everyday satellite usage

As well as the programme of talks, some activities will also be available at Shetland UHI’s Lerwick campus. They include:

  • A virtual reality space experience
  • Shetland’s schools presenting their entries to Lockheed Martin’s recent competition to design a spaceport
  • Displays of space art
  • All of the planned talks available to view on big screens.

Teas, coffees, breakfast rolls, snacks and lunches will be available between 10am and 3pm.

Shetland UHI principal and CEO Professor Jane Lewis said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming people online and in person to the first Space 101 Day.

“As the new college for Shetland, we are keen to play our part in inspiring the whole community to take an interest in space and the exciting opportunities offered by having a spaceport on our doorstep.”

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang added: “Education and innovation are part of our company DNA, in line with the Shetland culture of lateral thinking and smart ideas.

“We have forged a number of important links with a variety of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, including Shetland UHI, so we are naturally delighted to be supporting the Shetland Space 101 Day and hope that as many people as possible can participate to learn about this exciting and dynamic new sector that will become a fixture of Shetland life in the years ahead.”

People are asked to note that Covid-19 restrictions will be in operation on campus.

Visitors will be asked to wear masks at all times while indoors and to sign-in using a scanned QR code on arrival.