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Space / Test exercise held at spaceport site but no launch due to weather

A “DRESS rehearsal” has been carried out by the SaxaVord Spaceport team – but it was scaled back somewhat due to the weather.

Staff say a “huge amount was learned” through the exercise, which was named Freya.

Weather conditions prevented the planned launch of a small-scale rocket in either of two “windows” agreed with airspace and maritime authorities on 6 and 7 July.

Freya was the first in a series of exercises leading up to full launch from Lamba Ness in Unst later this year.

Had the weather been favourable, a one metre, 3D-printed rocket named Odysseus would have been launched by members of the Oxford University Rocketry Society.

SaxaVord range officer Jimmy Slaughter said: “We learned an enormous amount from this dress rehearsal, which involved transporting the rocket to the site and setting it up on a launch rail, then running through all our procedures and protocols up to the point of launch.

“The decision not to launch, which is of course not uncommon in the space industry, was made for safety reasons based on very accurate forecasting from a representative of the Met Office on site.

“One of the main purposes of the launch was to test our procedures for notification and ongoing engagement with a range of stakeholders, including Police Scotland, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Marine Scotland, Civil Aviation Authority, local companies and members of the community.”

Plans are being made for a follow-up test exercise in the next few months.

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