The first UK spaceport for vertical rocket launches has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority in the Shetland Isles, specifically on Unst. The spaceport, known as SaxaVord Spaceport, is set to begin launches next year, with the capacity for up to 30 launches annually, primarily for satellite deployment. This site, which was once an RAF radar station, has been co-owned by Frank and Debbie Strang for 15 years. The UK’s space industry is valued at £17.5bn and supports around 48,800 jobs at 2,200 firms.
A significant moment for the UK space sector, the licensing of SaxaVord marks the potential for future satellite launches from Scotland. The Edinburgh-based Skyrora aims to be the first UK company to conduct launches from the UK in the near future. Moreover, John Lamont, the UK Government Minister for Scotland, expressed his excitement about the establishment of the spaceport in Shetland, emphasizing its role in the thriving space industry in Scotland and beyond.