Environmental monitoring system specialist Nevis Technology has been contracted to provide an all-in-one weather station at the SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland, Scotland, where the UK’s first vertical rocket launch will take place later this year.
The meteorological system comprises a range of equipment that will enable the spaceport team to assess all aspects of the weather and surrounding atmosphere in the lead-up to a rocket launch, improving the safety of each event. A comprehensive picture of air pressure, temperature, wind speed, cloud coverage and visibility, plus lightning and storm detection will also help map the rocket’s trajectory when it takes off.
Kathleen Dawes, operations director at Nevis Technology, said, “SaxaVord Spaceport was looking for a ‘full-service offering’ that could integrate all weather monitoring systems into one, and we were able to come up with exactly what they wanted. Our technology allows each weather element to be detected and monitored independently, with all data reporting into one software system, meaning that it is easier to view and analyze the information. All the data gathered in Shetland can be accessed anywhere in the world using Nevis’s software. It also makes service and maintenance easier.”
Following an initial test phase in Aberdeen, Scotland, the kit will be moved to the Lamba Ness site in Unst, with installation scheduled to take place in February 2023. The first rocket launch is planned for spring 2023.
A total of £19m (US$22.8m) has been invested in SaxaVord Spaceport so far, which is expected to rise to £43m (US$51.6m) over the next 18 months, and £100m (US$120m) in the next five years. Construction of the spaceport began last March and is ahead of schedule, with the first concrete base for a launch pad having been completed in November 2022.
Dawes added, “This is an exciting time for Nevis Technology, and we are very proud to have won the work with SaxaVord Spaceport. We are very much looking forward to being part of the team helping to make it a success when the initial launch takes place next year.
“Although traditionally we have worked in the oil and gas arena, both on and offshore, this new relationship with SaxaVord shows just how versatile our team and our products are as we continue to develop our service offerings and engage with new markets, including renewables.”