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Old 16th Jun 2020, 15:30
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Scatsta, The UK's most Northerly airport and once the second busiest charter airport in the UK, was slated to close this Friday but has now possibly been thrown a lifeline by the Uk's space industry.

THE TEAM behind plans for a space centre in Unst have expressed an interest in using Scatsta Airport in a bid to “bring it back to life”.

The airport is due to close at the end of the week as its oil and gas flights move to Sumburgh Airport.

Shetland Space Centre (SSC), however, has pinpointed the facility as a possible ‘technology and space hub’, which could potentially operate while the runway is kept active.

Chief executive Frank Strang believes it could also still be used to support the oil and gas industry in addition to the space sector.

Strang has spoken publicly about the space centre’s desire to use Scatsta because the “witching hour is almost upon us”.

“We need to move now in order to try and get things done,” he told Shetland News

“There is a real danger that the airfield will be stripped and dismantled when it closes at the end of the month. It would be a major disaster for Shetland and the North Mainland if that were to happen.”

Shetland Space Centre wrote to landowner Shetland Islands Council (SIC) “several months ago” to express its interest in the site.

“We believe it would be possible to create a model that would be sustainable and support both the space sector and the oil and gas industry,” Strang said.

“The ideal solution would for the SIC, as owner of Scatsta, to allow SSC to manage it and develop it out.

“It will take a couple of years in my opinion but there are some space-related activities that could happen by the autumn such as engine testing and R and D [research and development] as well as trying to attract some commercial business back to the site.”

The company aims to create a satellite launching facility at Lamba Ness in Unst, but it does not yet have planning permission.

A consultation event was recently held before a full planning application is submitted.

Strang said that there is an “obvious synergy” between Unst and Scatsta in the North Mainland.

Shetland Space Centre believes that Scatsta could be an “integral part of the emerging space industry on Shetland and having access to the runway would allow clients to fly in much closer to the launch site than landing at Sumburgh”.

“Some of the SSC clients would envisage light manufacturing and testing at Scatsta and the existing hangarage would be perfect and fit for purpose,” Strang added.

He said, though, that it is “absolutely essential” that a lot of the equipment at Scatsta is left on site once oil and gas flights stop.

This would keep costs down and ensure an “almost seamless transition”.

“It is important to realise that we are talking about people’s livelihoods and lives so we would make no promises as to jobs and numbers created but I genuinely believe if we keep up the momentum…with SSC that there is a real opportunity to keep Scatsta alive and rebuild the workforce albeit in a different form,” Strang added.

“This will in no way diminish our intention to reinstate Ordale Airport at Baltasound which is seen very much as integral to the success of the launch site at Lamba Ness. However the clock is ticking down, quickly, and whatever is going to be done to retrieve the situation needs to happen very soon.

“There are not too many good news stories out there at the moment but space certainly is one, and if some of that enthusiasm and support can be used to inject life back into one of Shetland’s key assets then it is worth giving it a go I feel.”

Speaking earlier this week SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison said the council will continue to be “open to discussions with anybody who is interesting in airport”, but she declined to comment on matters relating to an individual business.

Shetland Space Centre, meanwhile, already has a memorandum of understanding signed with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, among interest from other companies.

At the weekend Edinburgh-based space developer Skyrora undertook a test rocket launch in Fethaland in the north mainland of Shetland.

It was the first time a suborbital rocket was launched from Shetland soil.

Launching satellites commercially from the proposed spaceport in Unst is a potential option for Skyrora.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 22:02
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final oil flight today
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Old 2nd Apr 2021, 07:24
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Shetland space centre fails to lift off

Plans for a space centre on Shetland have been rejected after heritage watchdogs warned of potential damage to a Second World War radar station.

The Shetland Space Centre was planned to be constructed on Lamba Ness, Unst, but the proposals have been thrown out by Historic Environment Scotland due to the impact on Skaw radar station. The concrete site was described as a “remarkably well preserved and intact military complex which dates from the early 1940s”.

However, Frank Strang, chief executive of the space centre, said they would “vigorously contest” the refusal. He said the site “has for years been left in a dilapidated state” and that the space centre’s proposal included improving visitor access and building an interpretation centre.

The space centre was planned to be used by Lockheed Martin’s UK Pathfinder satellite launch system. It would enable up to 30 launches per year, approved by the UK Space Agency. Wild Ventures Ltd, a sister company of Wildland Ltd, which runs the estates of Scotland’s largest landowner, the Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, invested £1.43 million in it.

The launch facility was expected to create about 140 jobs on Unst and inject at least £4.9 million a year into the island’s economy, and to create a further 70 jobs throughout Shetland.

The radar station was one of about 17 built in Scotland, and HES said it had “an important part to play” in telling the story of the defence of Britain.
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Old 2nd Apr 2021, 07:43
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Fantastic news. I drove around the apron last year and it was sad to see an airport in such a sorry state.

Its a shame HMG have decided not to pay to be in the Galileo EGNOS SoL system. This would have allowed places like Scatsta and other remote Scottish airfields to provide quality bad weather GPS approach facilities (equivalent of Cat 1 ILS) enhancing safety in areas prone to poor weather. We have given up a great opportunity for no obvious reason other than because it has European in the name.
HMG have effectively given up on the new 40inch colour TV and from June we will only have a black and white licence taking navigation services and safety back to expensive 1960s level technology.
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Old 2nd Apr 2021, 12:43
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I e-mailed my MP about continuing participation in EGNOS and the benefits it delivers through LPV 200 operations.... all I got back was vacuous propaganda.....

Thank you for your email. The UK is no longer participating in EGNOS, but we are still working closely in other areas of EU science.
These are exciting times for the UK space sector, as it has new opportunities for further international cooperation. This includes strengthening ties with other countries such as the United States, who launched the first commercial space venture and is leading efforts to return humans to the Moon by 2024, as well as New Zealand, Canada and Australia. We will also further our ambition through our ministerial-level National Space Council and the UK’s Space Strategy will bring long-term strategic and commercial benefits. The UK will remain a leading member of the European Space Agency will continue to work closely with its European partners.
The UK will not seek to access Galileo for defence and critical national infrastructure purposes because the Government will not be able to assure its services, although as with other public access geolocation systems such as GPS, public-facing applications will still be able to utilise it. I am pleased that the UK Space Agency is leading the development of options for a UK space-based positioning, navigation and timing system (PNT). Work is also being carried out to determine the UK's timing requirements and assess the options for meeting them.
In the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, the Agreement stated that the UK will participate and benefit from the Copernicus services and products in the same way as other participating countries.
At present, the UK Space Agency is also working to support the NHS in its work tackling Covid-19 through measures such as introducing new advanced software helping speed up cancer diagnoses, to satellite communications connecting GPs to patients virtually, to drone deliveries and other GPS/AI technologies.
More broadly, my Ministerial colleagues and I are committed to ensuring the UK becomes a global science superpower and that we continue to collaborate with Europe on scientific research. I welcome that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU confirmed that the UK will continue to participate in all parts of Horizon Europe. Furthermore, UK entities may participate in direct actions of the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

So, they are pi$$ing away any money spent on developiing and implementing EGNOS-based LPV IAPs, with the result that UK EGNOS supported IAPs will preseumably have to come out of the UK AIP, and the promising to re-invent the wheel. Unbelievable.
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