The Shetland Space Centre (SSC) is set to benefit from investment of more than £2 million (US$2.58 million) from private equity firm Leonne International, which will own a 20 percent stake in the venture. According to a report in Scotsman.com, the investment will be used to develop the Unst facility, including a vertical-launch site for small satellites and a ground operations station.
Unst, a remote island in Shetland in the far north of Scotland, is on track to become home to the UK’s first spaceport, and this investment moves the idea closer to development. It has been selected as the ideal spot to construct a commercial satellite launch pad as the UK moves toward increasing its role in the rapidly growing global space sector.
“We are always excited to partner with firms which exhibit ambition, innovation and excitement, and Shetland Space Centre exceeds this criteria with the plans they have in place for their satellite launch programme” Michael Haston, chief executive of Leonne International, told Scotsman.com. “With the help of the SSC, Shetland’s space economy is unique and will inevitably become a very valuable asset to the UK.”
Frank Strang, chief executive of SSC, has welcomed the investment and insists Shetland is “absolutely the right location for kick-starting the UK’s entry into this rapidly growing market”.
“We are delighted to have Leonne International as a partner in realising the benefits of space exploration for the UK, and for Shetland’s economy: bringing jobs, revitalising the economy, attracting visitors and establishing Shetland as a northern hub supporting vertical-launch and ground-station activity,” Strang told Scotsman.com. “Mike Haston and his team at Leonne International bring tremendous enthusiasm, drive and belief to the business which will turbo-charge an already dynamic and fast-moving project.”