Major planning proposals for a new space launch facility have now been submitted to Shetland Islands Council on behalf of Shetland Space Centre.

It's claimed that the creation of the facility, in Unst, will result in hundreds of new jobs, as well as a boost of £4.9m per year into the island's economy

The proposals take the form of three separate but related planning applications, including the launch site at Lamba Ness. 

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Plans include three launch pads and associated infrastructure incorporating a satellite tracking facility, hangarage and integration facilities, the creation of a range control centre at the former RAF Saxa Vord complex, use of the fuel storage facility at Ordale Airport at Baltasound, and significant improvements to the launch site’s approach roads. 

The proposals, submitted by consultants Farningham Planning, also include the building of a wildlife hide at Lamba Ness to help facilitate enhanced public access for the enjoyment of bird and orca watching. 

Scott Hammond, Shetland Space Centre project director, said: “The economic decline of Unst since the closures of Baltasound Airport and RAF Saxa Vord has been well documented.  

“We believe our proposals will help regenerate the island by providing skilled jobs and helping with repopulation that can only benefit the social fabric, including the school, health centre and small businesses. The space industry attracts young people and the island needs a healthy population of young families to maintain economic viability.”  

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Frank Strang, CEO of Shetland Space Centre, said: “Scott and Alan Farningham and his team have assembled a very comprehensive and detailed application that has taken over two years to produce.  

“In many ways the UK is in very new territory and while there are other spaceports situated elsewhere in the world, we are just starting out on the journey and it is very important that we get it right.  

“We are trying to portray all the positive aspects of the new space economy and hopefully light a small beacon of hope in these dark times, not just for the Shetland economy but Scotland and the UK in general.”