Public consultation event for vertical launch site

Initial plans for a vertical launch site in Unst for small rockets, which will open up a brand-new sector of the local and national economy, is to be the subject of a public consultation event next month.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the pre-planning application public exhibition for Shetland Space Centre’s draft proposals to bring spaceflight to the isles will take place online at www.consultation.shetlandspacecentre.com on Tuesday 12th, Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th May, between 4pm and 8pm inclusive each day.

This is a week later than originally planned, following the Scottish Government’s introduction last week of temporary regulations which allow such events to be held virtually while public gatherings are banned.

In what is deemed by planning legislation to be a “major” application, SSC is seeking permission to build a vertical launch spaceport, including a launch pad complex, mobile tracking stations and assembly/integration hangar buildings with associated security fencing, access and servicing at Lamba Ness.

It also intends to create a launch and range control centre at the Saxa Vord Resort complex and construct a new section of access road through Northdale, which is situated just north of the former RAF base. Both will be the subject of two smaller separate “local” planning applications.

The online consultation event will be attended by the project’s lead planning consultant and a representative of Shetland Space Centre who will be available to answer questions and provide any additional information or clarification as required.

For those interested parties unable to attend or who do not have access to the online consultation event, alternative means are being made available for contacting Shetland Space Centre via post, telephone and email to obtain further information and ask questions.

A leaflet is being delivered to all domestic properties in Unst with this contact information and details of the draft proposals. This is not required by the Scottish Government’s temporary regulations, but SSC considered it was important to ensure that everyone possible had an opportunity to comment on the draft proposals.

SSC project director Scott Hammond said: “We would much prefer to be holding the exhibition where people could come along in person. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to do so.

“We would like to emphasise that this is a pre-application public engagement event, which outlines our initial draft proposals in very general terms at this stage.

“A further opportunity to make comments on the proposals will be available, prior to submitting our full planning application to Shetland Islands Council later in the year, once the detail has evolved in tandem with the Environmental Impact Assessment that we have commissioned.”

Trip to Cape Canaveral up for grabs for winner of space art contest

The winner of a children’s competition for the best drawing or painting on the theme of Shetland and space will secure a trip for two to Cape Canaveral.

The contest for local children between the ages of five and 18 has been organised by Shetland Space Centre, which is developing plans for a vertical rocket launch site and ground station in Unst.

“We know that Shetland is blessed with great artistic ability among young folk, and this is an opportunity for you to show off your skills,” said Shetland Space Centre administrator Carol Duncan.

“There is an exciting prize for the winner – a trip to Cape Canaveral in Florida with your dad or mum or guardian when the Covid-19 lockdown is over.

“So we hope that you take up the challenge during this time when a lot of us are working from our kitchen tables to impress us.”

The entries, on the theme of Shetland and space, will be judged by a panel comprised of Graeme Howell, chief executive of Shetland Arts, Unst artist Pat Cerasale, Ms Duncan and Yvette Hopkins, SSC director of Shetland operations.

Entries should be scanned and emailed in PDF or JPG format to [email protected] along with the child’s name, parent or guardian’s name, address and contact telephone number. The closing date is Monday 24th August.

A selection of the artworks will be displayed on the SSC website.

The prize will consist of flights for two from Shetland to Orlando, seven nights’ accommodation, car rental, tours of the Kennedy Space Centre and Cape Canaveral Nature Reserve and Disney tickets. Dates will be agreed depending on availability.

 

Seeking views from Aviation & Non-Aviation Stakeholders on the Airspace Design Principles

Shetland Space Centre (SSC) is seeking views from Aviation & Non-Aviation Stakeholders on the Airspace Design Principles as part of the next stage of the airspace change around the proposed Lamba Ness rocket launch site.

As part of the ongoing development of a Spaceport on Unst, Shetland, SSC is undertaking an “airspace change” process with the Civil Aviation Authority, this is to ensure that the rockets and other air users are protected.

An online questionnaire is available till the 8th of May 2020 for members of the public to complete via this link: https://airspace-change.shetlandspacecentre.com/

 

Please note that this is separate from our planning application which will come later.

Statement on SSC and Leonne International

Shetland Space Centre has been the subject of adverse comment in some sections of the media within the last month. This relates to the investment in the project by Michael Haston through Leonne International. The Board of Shetland Space Centre wishes to make clear that the company has received and continues to receive funds from Leonne in full compliance with the legal agreement signed more than a month ago. Moreover, Shetland Space Centre has carried out due diligence checks and the Board is entirely satisfied that Leonne is a legitimate funder.

The only possible conclusion is that individuals with their own agenda are intent on smearing our project by resorting to innuendo and insinuation. They should know that while this activity is distressing and frustrating for the project team, particularly during a global medical and economic crisis, their attempts to discredit us will only encourage us to work harder to fulfil our aim of building a vertical launch site, thus bringing the space economy to Shetland, Scotland and the UK.

Frank Strang MBE

CEO

On behalf of the Board of Shetland Space Centre