Transfer of Lockheed Martin UKVL Pathfinder Programme to Unst

Shetland Space Centre today welcomed the announcement from the UK Space Agency that Lockheed Martin is transferring its satellite launch operations to Unst, creating hundreds of jobs.

UKSA said that the move from Sutherland followed a thorough process of due diligence and the project would deliver long-term value and help establish a sustainable, commercial launch market as part of the UK’s spaceflight programme – LaunchUK.

Shetland Space Centre anticipates that by 2024, the spaceport site could support a total of 605 jobs in Scotland including 140 locally and 210 across the wider Shetland region. A further 150 jobs will also be created through wider manufacturing and support services.

Lockheed Martin is in discussions with a preferred partner to provide launch services for its UK Pathfinder Launch, which would take place from Shetland Space Centre.

Frank Strang, CEO of SSC, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nik Smith and the Lockheed Martin team to Unst as we develop Shetland Space Centre.

“The UK is in a space race with other countries in Europe and beyond, such as Norway, Sweden and New Zealand, to supply payload space in a rapidly growing international market, and we intend to exploit our favourable geographical position to meet this demand.

“The benefits for Shetland, Scotland and the UK of Pathfinder and the additional launch projects that we are actively working on, in terms of skilled jobs, are evident.

“As well as launch, we aim to offer a full range of services, including telemetry, tracking and navigation, space situational awareness and data download and storage.

“We look forward to deepening our good relationship with Lockheed in the months and years ahead.

“This is a significant moment, and we intend to succeed in this new space race. The sky is no longer the limit.”

UK Government science minister Amanda Solloway said: “We want the UK to be the best place in Europe to launch satellites, attracting innovative businesses from all over the world and creating hundreds of high-skilled jobs.

The potential to have multiple spaceports in Scotland demonstrates the scale of our ambition, and I want to support industry by pressing ahead with our plans during this challenging time.

“This government is committed to backing our growing space sector, developing a comprehensive space strategy and supporting transformative technologies that will benefit people and businesses across the country.”

Ivan McKee, Scottish Government minister for trade, investment and innovation, said: “This is an extremely exciting time for the emerging space sector globally, and Scotland is situated at the very forefront of this.”

Nik Smith, UK country executive at Lockheed Martin, said: “The UK has a vibrant space sector, which can stimulate the national as well as regional economies. As a long-standing strategic partner to the UK, Lockheed Martin is committed to building on its proud heritage to support the UK government’s role of growing capabilities in space, exciting imagination and advancing the frontiers of science.

“From the outset our focus has been on realising the greatest economic benefit for the UK through the Spaceflight programme. The transfer of our UK spaceflight operations to Shetland will not only broaden launch options available in the UK, but also ensure the economic benefits of these endeavours are felt more widely.”

Brother and sister from Aith triumph in space art contest

The winners of Shetland Space Centre’s art contest, whose prize is a trip to Cape Canaveral in Florida, are a brother and sister from Aith.

Signe and Lockie Bullough, aged eight and 10, submitted a joint entry of a female astronaut with a puffin on top of her helmet and a rocket taking off in the background. The pair have an Unst connection as their mum, Lynn Ritch, is from the island.

Theirs was one of a remarkable 192 entries received, and the quality of the submissions was so high that the judges decided to award prizes to three children in three different age groups, five-seven, eight-11 and 12+. They will each receive a voucher for Mareel.

They were (five-seven): first Aly Work (aged seven), second Isla Somerville (six) and third Thea Tallack (six).

(Eight-11): first Levi Cogle (10), second Rashik Saravanan (10) and third Vaila Gunn (eight).

And 12+: first Prasheeta Saravanan (13), second Connie Dickie (16) and third Emma Henry (14).

SSC administrator Carol Duncan, who judged the entries along with SSC director of Shetland operations Yvette Hopkins, Graeme Howell, chief executive of Shetland Arts, and Unst artist Pat Cerasale, said: “It was a fantastic competition, with a really high standard of entry.

“Congratulations to Signe and Lockie, who will be heading off to Florida along with their mum and dad when the travel situation returns to normal.

“We will shortly be putting up a selection of the artworks on our website for all to see, as they deserve to be seen.”

 

SSC replaces face to face meetings with phone calls

Shetland Space Centre is replacing its planned face to face meetings during this week’s round of public consultation events with phone calls after the latest Covid-19 advice from the Scottish Government. 

The online events, from 4pm to 8pm on Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October, will still go ahead. They can be accessed via https://consultation.shetlandspacecentre.com

Instead of the proposed face to face meetings, however, members of the Shetland Space Centre team will be available by phone in half hour slots from 12pm to 3pm. These appointments can be booked by emailing [email protected] 

The online consultation event will be attended by the project’s lead planning consultant, Alan Farningham, SSC project director Scott Hammond and experts who have been carrying out studies as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment that will be submitted with the planning application. They will be available to answer questions and provide any additional information or clarification as required.

Isles innovators urged to head online to learn about support and funding

Do you have a great idea that you think could be a big deal in technology or manufacturing? But you’re not sure about what steps to take next?

Local individuals, companies and organisations with innovative schemes in mind are invited to a free virtual event on Thursday 29th October where they can find out how to access support and funding.

The event, from 09.30-13.30, is being hosted by Shetland Space Centre, Shetland Islands Council and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), a Government organisation that directly funds innovative ideas that benefit the UK’s Armed Forces and national security.

Speakers will attend from organisations covering a wide range of interests, including artificial intelligence, downstream use of satellite data, defence and security, the internet of things and a range of other technology.

In addition to SSC, SIC and DASA, the organisations include Censis, The Data Lab, ESA Business Applications, KTN, Innovate and Interface.

Yvette Hopkins, SSC director of Shetland Operations, said: “We are pleased to be joining with SIC and DASA in hosting this virtual event to highlight not only the wide range of organisations that can help support and fund your innovations, but the innovative mindset and business acumen resident in Shetland.

“SSC looks forward to potentially working together with local businesses, academia and innovators on forward thinking ideas and concepts to support our spaceport plans for Unst.”

Maggie Sandison, Chief Executive of Shetland Islands Council, said: “New technologies and projects such as the Shetland Space Centre offer local companies and individuals the chance to get involved in innovative and creative work.

“This event provides a chance to see what kind of support is out there, and I hope, provides individuals and local businesses with a sense of the range of new opportunities that exist even in the particularly challenging economic environment we face.”

Dr Debra Carr, DASA Innovation Partner for Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be joining this event. DASA offers fantastic opportunities to fast track the development of your innovations with UK Government funding. We are excited to hear from innovators across the Shetland Islands and to learn about your work.”

You can find out more and register to attend by visiting the event website at https://shetlandspacecentre.com/dasa/