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£10million funding for Scottish spaceport

The UK government is backing the SaxaVord Spaceport with £10m to support orbital launch in 2024.

SaxaVord is based in Shetland and is Europe’s first and indeed only licensed vertical launch spaceport. The cash injection means it should be able to do the first launch from the island of Unst later in the year.

The company had already secured planning permission for the launch site, which is designed for small rockets to deliver payloads into low earth orbit. To date, it has already raised £40m of private investment.

“[..] we are thrilled to receive this support. It is a testimony to the value of our spaceport to the UK space, science, technology and innovation industries,” stated SaxaVord.

“This latest investment will help us capitalise on our work so far as we move towards the first-ever orbital launch from UK and European soil. Watch this space!”

Shetland Islands Councillor Ryan Thomson added:

“This is brilliant news for Unst, and equally brilliant news for Shetland. A brand new industry for our isles.”

The UK Space Agency is also investing a number of other UK space projects, including Space North.

This will unite Space Hub Yorkshire, the North West Space Cluster and Space North East England to showcase the region’s “resilient communications expertise, attract inward investment and boost research and collaboration.”

There is also cash for a project aiming to unlock space for agriculture, which will see collaboration between regional space and agricultural sectors in Scotland and the East of England. 

Power4Space will receive backing to strengthen ties between the North West Space Cluster and Midlands Space Cluster, “to seize commercial opportunities in novel power systems for deep space applications. “

The news was announced at the Space-Comm Expo by Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency:

“With entrepreneurs and businesses from across the UK space sector at Space-Comm Expo, I’m pleased to announce this series of targeted projects to support the continued growth of our space ecosystem and deliver on the government’s Space Industrial Plan.”  

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