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New education officer appointed at SaxaVord UK Spaceport

Mason Robbins new SaxaFord Space Port education officer

Shetland-based SaxaVord UK Spaceport has appointed Mason Robbins as its new education officer.

Mr Robbins, who will be based in Unst, has been brought in to the role to help develop an education, skills and employment programme to support the development of the sector.

The full-time, year-long post is supported by Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Space highly exciting sector

Mr Robbins, who was previously the UK ambassador to the Barça Innovation Hub, Barcelona Football Club’s research and development unit, said: “Education and skills are just as important as physical infrastructure, and I’m really looking forward to helping develop this aspect of the spaceport.

“Space is a hugely exciting sector and there are numerous educational and skills development opportunities for everyone from school kids to retirees.

“Our long-term objective is to create a world-leading education, development and innovation hub that we hope will be the benchmark for this ever-changing industry.”

First in the UK

SaxaVord Spaceport, which recently changed its name from Shetland Space Centre, is being developed on the most northerly of the Shetland Islands.

It has become the centre of a race to become the launchpad of the UK’s first rocket into space.

Skyrora, a rocket company with its headquarters in Edinburgh, has agreed a multi-launch deal over the next decade with the SaxaVord Spaceport.

It hopes to send its 23-metre long, 56-tonne XL rocket to deliver satellites into orbit from 2022.

ABL Space, an American rocket firm, also hopes to launch from SaxaVord next year.

The rocket firm is working as the partner of a £40million UK Space Agency “pathfinder” project based at the Unst spaceport, which is being led by US aerospace and defence giant, Lockheed Martin.

Yvette Hopkins, SaxaVord Spaceport’s director of innovation and partnerships, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have Mason on board to develop this important area of our work.

“He will build on the efforts already made and the excellent links with schools through Shetland Islands Council and partnered universities around the world.”

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