Name change and rebrand for our rocket site

Shetland Space Centre is changing its name to SaxaVord Spaceport as it rebrands to position itself at the heart of the new space economy in Europe.

The rocket launch site and ground station, located in the UK’s most northerly island of Unst, Shetland, is already the designated site of next year’s UK Pathfinder launch by Lockheed Martin and ABL Systems.

And as they seek to make Shetland synonymous with the new space economy as well as build on their existing client base, the company’s owners recognised that the time was right to be clear about its vision, mission, values and behaviours.

Unst was clearly identified as the optimal site for launching small satellites into low earth orbit in the independent Sceptre Report, commissioned by the UK Government to identify the most commercially viable launch locations in the UK.

Saxa Vord is the name of the highest hill in Unst (935ft) which overlooks both the launch site and the former RAF Saxa Vord base where launch control and mission support personnel will be accommodated.

In Norse mythology, Saxa was a giant who lived on the hill, while across the water resided Herma (hence Hermaness). For amusement, they threw huge boulders at one another.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “Having bought the former RAF Saxa Vord base back in 2005, and worked for many years looking for a theme for the Saxa Vord Resort, it was really a case of back to the future with the name change.

“We have always spoken of the progression in Shetland from the Viking age to the space age, in fact ‘from the Longship to the Spaceship’ is a strap line we use on our pop up stands, and the new name evokes that wonderfully.

“SaxaVord Spaceport is the home of the UK Space Agency’s Vertical Launch Pathfinder Programme and will become a successful, internationally-recognised new space business with safety and superior value being our hallmarks.”

Emma Beaton, creative manager at Azzurro Blu, the Aberdeen-based marketing agency selected to undertake the rebranding work and to provide on-going marketing support, said: “We are thrilled to be involved. It’s hugely exciting to be part of such a dramatic project.

“The history of the business, its commitment to the local community, and its powerful vision to be an important part of the ‘new space’ industry, combine to create a thoroughly compelling brand. In the UK space industry and abroad, it’s going to be a brand to watch.”

First come, first served for this summer’s Astronaut Job Camp at Shetland Space Centre

Children will be able to participate in “astronaut teacher” Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Camp, hosted from Shetland Space Centre this summer, with fees paid for.

Shetland Space Centre, together with land conservation and tourism business Wildland Limited, have stepped in to cover all the registration costs for the inaugural edition of Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Camp, a virtual summer camp geared to 10-12 year olds* with a passion for space and STEAM.

“We are looking for kids who are interested in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) subjects and might want to become a space professional, including perhaps humannaires, the next generation of space explorers,” said Mike.

“So my message to parents is: if your children are into creative thinking, problem solving, team play and emotional intelligence, get them signed up, they’ll love it.

“And my message to kids is: if you’re excited by space and STEAM and even video games and sports, or even just a little bit interested, get your mum, dad or guardian to sign you up – your registration is paid for!”

Frank Strang, CEO of Shetland Space Centre, said: “We are delighted along with Wildland to be able to support this fantastic initiative by Mike and hope lots of kids sign up for what will be an amazing experience.”

Tim Kirkwood, CEO of Wildland said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for young people to learn about space while having fun and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to help make it happen.”

The camp will be held virtually from 5th to 30th July and in three separate camps there will be space for a total of 180 children from Shetland, Scotland, and around the world.

The two-hour long sessions will be held on Monday and Thursday mornings for children in Scotland, Monday and Thursday afternoons for the rest of the UK and Ireland and Tuesday and Friday mornings for the rest of the world.

Mike Mongo is director of the United Launch Alliance-sponsored Humannaires Initiative, YouTuber and US author of The Astronaut Instruction Manual.

The camp will feature professional instructors including SpaceX Inspiration 4 astronaut Dr Sian Proctor, NASA ISS and Space Shuttle astronaut Nicole Scott, and future Mars walker Alyssa Carson.

Dr Proctor and Nicole Scott are members of Mr Mongo’s high-powered Curriculum Advisory Board, which also includes Dr Christopher Washington, Executive Vice- President and Provost, Franklin University; Dr Sara Polak, archaeologist in AI, Paioneers Lab, Prague; Dr David Lockett of NASA and Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow; Lace Giles, STEM educator and historian of science; and Dr Juan José Díaz Infante, Mission Director, Ulises 1; Director, Mexican Civil Space Authority.

“Shetland’s balanced mix of nature and the modern world is the perfect location for our first Astronaut Job Camp. If you’re between the ages of 10-12 and want to live, work and play in tomorrow’s jobs in space, you have to join up,” added Mike, who is already in Unst and raring to go.

Shetland Space Centre is a natural ally in promoting STEAM careers for the students of Scotland. Combining the practical nature of the commercial technological industry with the visionary excitement of space careers, Shetland Space Centre has the opportunity to support the work of parents, teachers, headmasters, schools, and national stakeholders in championing STEAM careers, empowering student acquisition of essential STEAM skills and training, and communicating the genuine value of diversity and inclusion in STEAM careers to the benefit of Scotland and the world.

For more details about how to sign up, go to

*Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the organisers.