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Space / SaxaVord signing more rocket launch agreements

Astra orbital payload mission from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Photo: Brady Kenniston/Astra

THE BUDDING SaxaVord spaceport has entered into a partnership agreement with an American orbital launch service provider which could lead to additional rocket launches in Unst next year.

Work is about to get underway to build the spaceport after planning permission was granted earlier this year. A first orbital launch from UK soil is planned for later this year.

Director of business development Robin Huber said SaxaVord UK Spaceport had now partnered with Astra Space Inc to provide dedicated orbital launch services to a growing satellite market.

“We look forward to working with their team to build new launch capabilities in the UK,” he said.

“Their mission to improve life on Earth from space is closely aligned with our own values.”

Astra has developed systems that allows them to transport and connect a fully functional launch system to a simple concrete pad for launches.

Vice president of business operations at Astra Matt Ganser said: “The additional inclinations, flexibility and launch capacity that this partnership enables will allow us to meet the needs of Astra’s customers and align directly with SaxaVord UK Spaceport’s economic investment and environmental goals.

“This new partnership between Astra and SaxaVord UK Spaceport is another great example of the strong interest from the international space community in operating from UK spaceports,” said Matt Archer, director of commercial space at the UK Space Agency.

“By attracting global partners and developing a home-grown launch industry, we can cater for the diverse needs of small satellite manufacturers and operators, while benefitting people and businesses across the UK.

“It is fantastic to welcome Astra into the UK’s thriving launch community.”