The Space Centre

Unst could play a part in the space programme after being identified as suitable for satellite launches.

A new company has been formed to drive forward the development in what is being hailed as a potentially major new sector.

The company was created after it emerged that a report commissioned by the UK Space Agency had singled out Saxa Vord as the preferred site for satellite launches.

These include Shetland Space Centre Ltd becoming the operator of a launch facility and the provision of accommodation, amenities and additional space for companies and other organisations using the facility.

The SCEPTRE report, part-funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, states: “The site offering the maximum payload mass to orbit is Saxavord in the Shetlands [sic], from where direct launch is possible to both SSO [Sun-Synchronous] and Polar orbits.”

Regulations dictate that spacecraft do not fly over populated areas, and due north of Unst would give satellite launchers a clear, unobstructed route into orbit.