Lagos, 19 December 2023. – SaxaVord Spaceport has received its licence from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), becoming the first licenced vertical launch spaceport in the UK and Western Europe. The award came after extensive assessment by the space regulator to check that the Spaceport met the appropriate safety, security and environmental criteria, and that it has suitable infrastructure, equipment and services to accommodate vertical space launches.
The spaceport licence puts Scotland at the forefront of the European launch market, with Scottish satellites already in space, and home-grown rocket companies breaking new ground. Furthermore, launch operators from around the world are currently developing rockets to launch from SaxaVord, who are currently at various stages of the assessment process with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Upon receiving the Licence, SaxaVord will now be subject to an ongoing monitoring program by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safety is maintained and the terms of its licence are not breached.
CEO Frank Strang said, “The award of our spaceport licence is both historic for Shetland, Scotland and the UK and places us firmly at the leading edge of the European and global space economy. As importantly for me, it is also a fantastic achievement by our Operations and Licencing Team led by Scott Hammond, who has been working tirelessly alongside the CAA for almost three years to secure this award.”
Likewise, Tim Johnson, Director of Space Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Granting SaxaVord their licence is an era-defining moment for the UK space sector.” He also added, “This marks the beginning of a new chapter for UK space as rockets may soon launch satellites into orbit from Scotland. We are undertaking vital work to make sure the UK’s space activities are safe and sustainable for all.”