The UK could conduct its first vertical rocket launch as early as this summer, followed by another first attempt to reach orbit.
Shetland-based SaxaVord Spaceport deputy chief executive Scott Hammond told Sky News they hope the site will host a number of launches over the coming months.
it appears in Newquay’s orbital launch attempt this month Ended with failure.
The much-anticipated space mission at Spaceport Cornwall on January 9 included a LauncherOne rocket blasting off under the wing of an ex-Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747, failed to deploy satellite into orbit.
SaxaVord bosses want their site to do the job – but unlike Newquay, Unst aims to host NASA-style vertical launches That gave it a chance to make history twice.
“Watching a rocket launch is going to be a completely different experience,” Mr Hammond said.
“It’s very inspiring when you see that happen.
“People are really going to be shocked by it, and to think that it’s happening in the UK will hopefully be really uplifting.”
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The first launch of the site is likely to take place in August.
If successful, it would involve a German HyImpulse Technologies suborbital rocket – which won’t reach space – performing the first-ever vertical launch from British soil.
Afterwards, an orbital rocket launched by another German company, the Augsburg rocket factory, will do a better job than the Cornwall mission by going into space and deploying satellites.
It will start testing in the summer and roll out in the fall, possibly as soon as October.
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An American company called ABL Space Systems is also launching a mission called Pathfinder from the SaxaVord site this year, funded by the UK Space Agency.
“Our ethos is to operate the spaceport like an airport,” Mr Hammond said.
While the Cornwall mission didn’t go as planned, it will go down in history forever Granted UK’s first spaceport license.
SaxaVord hopes the CAA will approve its application by summer.
“The space industry is exploding”
Once online, SaxaVord can host 30 launches a year from its three launch pads, according to Mr Hammond.
It is located on the UK’s northernmost inhabited island of Unst and is considered ideal for its clear airspace.
Cornwall is also all but guaranteed for future launches, with another spaceport in Sutherland under construction, Built and managed by Scottish rocket builder Orbexwhich also hopes to hold a launch event in 2023.
Cornwall, Sutherland and Saxarward are three of seven spaceports across the UK that are coming online – with the aim of jointly launching 100,000 satellites by 2030.
Only California has built more satellites than Britain, which hopes to become Europe’s main launch hub.
“The industry is exploding,” Mr Hammond said.
“We’re a data-hungry society, and satellites give you data, or they enable you to get data.
“Have you seen that we have fewer and fewer computers, internet, cell phones? I suspect not – satellites are a fundamental part of what you could call the third industrial revolution.”