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

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


New round of space site consultation events to be held in October

A second round of public consultation events is to be held prior to the submission of a full planning application for a vertical launch site at Lamba Ness in Unst for small rockets.

Following the success of the pre-application events held in May, they will again be held online.

However, face-to face-meetings with members of the Shetland Space Centre team will also be available by prior appointment and in compliance with prevailing Covid-19 regulations.

The online events will be held between 4pm and 8pm on Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October with face-to-face appointments available in half-hour slots from 10am-12pm and 1-3pm on these days.

The online events will be accessible via and appointments can be booked by emailing [email protected] or telephoning Carol Duncan on 07766 231239.

SSC is seeking planning 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 Saxa Vord and construct a new section of access road at Northdale, just north of the former RAF base.

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

Similar to the public consultation events held in May, for those interested parties unable to attend or who do not have access to the internet, alternative means will again be made available to contact Shetland Space Centre via post, telephone and email to obtain further information and ask questions.

An updated publicity leaflet and accompanying questionnaire will be delivered to all domestic properties in Unst with the relevant contact information and further details of the proposals.

Although a second round of pre-application community consultation is not a Scottish Government statutory requirement, SSC considers it important that everyone has a further opportunity to comment on the draft proposals before formal submission to Shetland Islands Council for consideration and determination.

SSC project director Scott Hammond said: “Despite some limitations with the online format, the first round of public consultations in May went very well and, following discussions with Unst Community Council, we are conducting the same type of event again in October.

“For those who are unable to attend the online events, face-to-face meetings on each of the days listed with Alan Farningham and myself will be available on request. These will be by appointment only and strictly follow the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 protocols.

“We look forward to engaging with everyone as our proposals progress towards a full planning application being submitted to the council.”


Canadian launch company to use SSC as primary launch site

C6 Launch Systems and the Shetland Space Centre today announce the signing of a Letter of Intent for C6 Launch to use the Shetland Space Centre (SCC) in Unst as its primary launch facility.

Richard McCammon, President of C6 Launch, said: “In SCC, C6 Launch finds a perfect partner. Shetland Space Centre will provide all the infrastructure from launchpad to data communications and tracking that we could ask for. Being at the northernmost location in Scotland gives us the latitude we need to insert nano satellites to the perfect orbit.”

C6’s initial orbital launch capability is being designed for 30kg payloads in a 16U configuration to be delivered into a nominal 600km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Other orbits, altitudes and payloads are also planned. C6 Launch will provide dedicated launch capacity for nano and CubeSat operators on demand. Shetland Space Centre will house all launch operation facilities, payload processing and integration/assembly facilities, multiple launch pads and a variety of operational and security services.

Frank Strang, CEO of Shetland Space Centre, said: “We are looking forward greatly to this collaboration with C6 Launch Systems.

“Richard and his team have been very clear about their needs and hugely supportive of our plans to provide a route to market for small satellites here in Shetland.”

A 2018 business case by Frost and Sullivan, estimated the potential UK smallsat launch services market at USD$5.5 billion from 2021 to 2030. The report said the existing rideshare market which is growing at 5% a year can only meet less than 35% of the total smallsat launch demand.

According to Frost and Sullivan, rideshare models are not fulfilling smallsat launch demand and a smallsat operator “compromises on orbit based on the primary payload and has a wait period of about 18–24 months”.

Shetland Space Centre recently completed its first community consultation as part of the process toward approval and licensing of launch operations by the UK Government.

SSC expects to complete all submissions to the UK Government by the autumn of this year in order to be approved for launch operations in 2021.

The Shetland location was cited an independent Deimos Sceptre report for the UK Space Agency as the best location in the UK for vertical launch out of eight potential sites. The remote northerly location means rockets can avoid overly populated areas on their way into orbit and is ideally situated for high-demand polar and SSO orbits.

About C6 Launch Systems – Small Payloads – On Time. On Target

C6Launch Systems is a Canadian-based space technology company developing a dedicated small-sat launch capability to place payloads up to 30 kg in a nominal 600 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). This means that small-sat game changers, first movers and those with urgent operational requirements can deploy payloads where they want, when they want without compromising their orbit or mission. The C6 Rocket utilizes proven, best-in-class capabilities from the engine to the deployer, with integration and other technologies from C6’s talented, expert team of space engineers. C6 is led by veteran entrepreneur Richard McCammon (Delego). For more information visit

A message to the Unst community

This is an update on what the project team has been up to during the Covid-19 lockdown with regards to community consultation. Work has been continuing at pace, although inevitably not as rapidly as it might have during normal times. Unfortunately, much of the work has to be done remotely.

Most significantly from a community point of view, we have been preparing for the exhibition, in just over a week’s time, that is a requirement of our having submitted a pre-planning application notification (PAN) to Shetland Islands Council. Every household in Unst has been sent details of this in two separate leaflets. Ideally, we would have loved for this to have been a series of face-to-face sessions, but unfortunately due the lockdown it is impossible to hold public events. There can be no substitute for physical interaction, but the Scottish Government has put in place temporary measures that allow us and other projects around the country to engage virtually.

To avoid any misunderstanding, this is not our full planning application, which among other things will require a range of studies, including but not limited to natural heritage (including birds), noise and vibration, transport and access and health and safety. When the lockdown has been eased, we will be able to complete all of this work, which will then feed into an Environmental Impact Assessment that will be submitted as part of the full planning application, hopefully in September.  We are bound by statutory process in how we approach this and to deviate would be a clear breach of the planning guidelines, therefore we must adhere to the protocols which we are sure you will all appreciate.

The PAN provides a general description or outline of what Shetland Space Centre is proposing, and during the exhibition we will be able to answer any questions that you might have.

Far from trying to impose any kind of control or limit, we will welcome all and any questions during the three sessions that will form the exhibition. Naturally, some of you will have concerns, and we will address those in an open and transparent way. If you are unable to participate in the exhibition, the leaflets contain details of alternative means of contacting the team.

Our message on this could not be clearer.

We will also welcome any ideas or suggestions that you feel may be appropriate that would enable us to do things better.

It is important that these questions/suggestions are posed as part of the exhibition or via the alternative means referred to above because they will then become a formal element of the planning process and be taken account of as we move to the next stage.

The PAN exhibition is only the beginning of the community engagement – we will continue to liaise with you in the weeks and months ahead. Over the next month or so we will be appointing an education and community engagement officer to ensure that we are contactable and engaged as much as possible.

Apart from our PAN preparations, we are in daily contact with our industry partners throughout the world as well as the UK Space Agency, the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Defence among others building up the case for a sustainable space economy in Shetland. We are also engaged with SIC on a joint approach to elicit support for Unst from the Scottish Government’s Islands Deal, which if successful could benefit both Unst and Uist.

We look forward to welcoming you – and your questions – at the exhibition next week. Please log on, or contact us via the email or phone number provided in the leaflet.


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 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:


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


On behalf of the Board of Shetland Space Centre

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