The UK Met Office is working with SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Islands to help install a weather station that will improve forecasts ahead of launch day.
The Met Office will advise on the most appropriate equipment and best location on the Lamba Ness peninsula where the rocket launches are set to take place. The project is part of a wider contract between Saxa and the Met Office to provide forecasts that dictate if weather conditions are suitable for launch, as well as providing remote or on-site consultancy services from a trained Met Office meteorologist for launch days. Post-launch meteorological data will also be made available.
Jimmy Slaughter, range officer, SaxaVord UK Spaceport, said, “This contract marks the end of long and detailed discussions between SaxaVord Spaceport and the Met Office on what bespoke spaceport weather services could and should look like. It also marks the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship in which both organizations grow and learn from each other as we develop orbital launch services from the UK.”
Simon Marshall, key account manager, Met Office, said, “This is an exciting time for the UK space industry and we are delighted Saxa have chosen to work with us to help make better decisions to stay safe and thrive. As a leading Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) and space weather prediction center, we are well placed to support Saxa not only on launch days, but in the days and weeks leading up to launches. At the Met Office, safety and integrity are at the heart of everything we do and these are values shared with Saxa.”
Matt Archer, director of commercial spaceflight at the UK Space Agency, said, “Accurate weather monitoring plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and reliability of space launch activities, just as it does for aircraft and airports. This partnership between SaxaVord and the Met Office is a great example of the important work being carried out as we prepare for the first small satellite launches from UK soil.”