Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Funding to boost space centre’s rocket project

Bristol-based B2Space could be launching satellites into space from Shetland
Bristol-based B2Space could be launching satellites into space from Shetland

A project to evaluate the suitability of Shetland’s northernmost island as a location to launch rockets using air balloons has been given a £15,000 boost.

The funding, from development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), will be used by Shetland Space Centre (SSC) for commercial and technical evaluation of the use of the system from its proposed facility on Unst.

SSC has been working with Bristol-based B2Space, a company that offers access to low Earth orbit for small and micro satellites.

In July, they ran a test from Unst of a system known as rockoon, which deploys large air balloons to launch rockets from the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.

HIE said its funding would go towards assessing current facilities and development plans at the site and providing recommendations on how such operations might be hosted at SSC.

John MacKenzie, a senior development manager with the agency, said: “This is an ambitious and innovative project.

“We are very pleased to be providing support for the commercial and technical evaluation and look forward to the findings of this work.”

B2Space is analysing data gathered during last month’s test.

Valentin Canales, one of the firm’s co-founders, said: “We had a flight to capture some data. It went quite well and we gathered a lot of information that we are analysing.

“We are going to deliver a comprehensive report to Shetland Space Centre that will, hopefully, demonstrate that we can operate from there – which is good news for us and the space centre.”

SSC was formed in 2017 and now employs five people. The firm is working towards securing planning permission for the satellite launch facility on Unst.

Last month, businessman Frank Strang, who established SSC, highlighted letters of intent from a number of companies around the world interested in using the facility.

Developing the centre is expected to cost more than £40 million and Mr Strang said work was progressing on raising funding.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and Shetland Islands Council.

It is also said to be working “closely” with space flight company AirianeGroup, which is owned by Airbus.

B2Space was formed in 2016, with the aim of providing “reliable, flexible and low-cost access to low Earth orbit for small and micro satellites”.

The company is already working with Llanbedr Spaceport, in Wales, to develop a prototype of its launch system.

Last year, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) announced it was backing plans to send satellites into space from a proposed vertical launch facility on the A’Mhoine peninsula, in Sutherland.

HIE approved £17.3m to support the development, including £9.8m from the agency itself and £2.5m from UKSA.

The remaining money is being sought from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]