A message from our CEO

As the country responds to the pandemic, and as our governments in Edinburgh and Westminster rally and put in Herculean shifts to ensure all that can be done is being done to alleviate the suffering, it is important that we in the space industry continue to look to the future and prepare for life after Covid-19.

If ever there was a time for a “new” industry to excite the nation and bring employment opportunities to both the current and next generation, it is now. By definition space is a fast moving, agile and exciting sector. We need to bring those attributes to the fore and ensure that the UK is ready to hit the ground running once the dark days are gone. Remember there are two sides to the moon, and we will come back into the sunlight just as Michael Collins did in 1969.

All of us, from the launch sites, north and south, the launch providers and the satellite manufacturers throughout the space ecosystem, must pull together to support the UK Space Agency and ensure we are ready for lift off next year.

We owe it to those who have been hardest hit by the outbreak and equally those who are giving so much to support those less fortunate. I have no doubts that all our colleagues in the industry feel the same as we do, and are continuing just like our SSC team to work day in day out to ensure we don’t miss a beat in our quest to deliver the new space economy.

Space is a truly international business and this dreadful virus has affected our clients, friends and colleagues from France, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, the USA, the Faroe Islands, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Italy and India as well as here in the UK. Judging from the Facebook comments and posts I read daily, no one is going to let Covid-19 get in the way of our collective progress. There will be challenges to us all over the next six months or so, but most of us are well used to battling through, and no matter how hard the fight it will not compare with the battle faced by those afflicted on a day to day basis.

The message is: “We in Shetland are not stopping in our quest to deliver success for both Shetland and the rest of the country, and will do our best to support all our friends and colleagues in the space family as we all strive to bring some hope and no little excitement to these dark times.” It’s not quite business as usual as we need to move faster to stay ahead of the virus, but I could not be prouder of our own team who have not missed a beat and continue to work incredibly hard on our project to deliver for not just Shetland, but the international community.

To quote Ron Garan (astronaut): “If we can adopt the same collaborative mindset and practices that got us to the Moon and back, and that built the International Space Station, we can alleviate poverty … and do much more.” Such as alleviating Covid-19!

Stay healthy and well



Unst airfield set for new lease of life as space industry hub

Shetland Space Centre is to exercise its option to lease the Ordale Airfield at Baltasound in Unst as it gears up for spaceflight activity.

The regeneration of the site, which opened in 1968 and served fixed-wing and helicopter traffic for the North Sea oil and gas industry until 1996, is regarded as an important step in attracting the international space industry to the isles.

It is envisaged that the airfield, which is less than 5km from the proposed launch site at Lamba Ness, will be used firstly for fuel and equipment storage as well as housing small business incubators supporting spaceflight activity on the island.

The airfield was used in July 2019 for the successful test launch of a balloon by B2Space in conjunction with SSC.

SSC intends to refurbish the airfield lighting system and hangar in order that clients may use the 640m runway to fly in and out as required.

SSC CEO Frank Strang said: “Without doubt having an airfield with associated infrastructure close to the launch site is a huge benefit to the embryonic Shetland space industry, and is another reason along with its location why Shetland is seen as the optimal place for vertical launch activity in the UK.

“The airfield will not be as busy as it was in the early 1990s, but this will be the first step towards bringing in limited commercial traffic.”



Further views sought on airspace change

In accordance with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) process, Shetland Space Centre is seeking further views on a change to the status of the airspace around its proposed Lamba Ness rocket launch site.

A questionnaire, available from the SSC website or by post upon request, forms part of this stage of engagement and is designed to help SSC identify affected parties (stakeholders).

It is important that the views of stakeholders are considered at an early stage in the process, and therefore your responses to these questions are important to allow us to understand what our key areas of consideration should be for a successful airspace change process.

Due to the current public health situation we are happy to accept replies via our website; to access the online form, please click on the link below.


Please save the file that includes your responses and attach to an email to the following address:

[email protected] 

Paper copies are available by emailing [email protected] and leaving your postal address.

Please ensure that your response is returned to us no later than 3rd April 2020.




Shetland Space Centre is continuing to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, having adapted our working practices to protect staff and ultimately the general public.

The dates for the public exhibitions relating to our planning application, to be held at Saxa Vord Resort on 5th, 6th and 7th May, have not changed but will be kept under review. Stay healthy everyone.