Shetland satellites receive US$2.6m boost

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Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plans for the UK’s only satellite launch site has received a £2m (US$2.6m) investment from private equity firm Leonne International.

The cash injection gives Leonne a 20% stake in the business, and the money will be used to grow, with plans including developing a launch site and ground station on Unst in the Shetland Islands.

Unst, the most northerly tip of the UK, was identified as the optimal location for launching small satellites by the Sceptre Report commissioned by the UK Space Agency.

SSC has spent the last two and a half years developing plans and collaborating with space industry companies including Lockheed Martin, Aecom and ArianeGroup on the project.

Other partners include Rocket Factory Augsburg, Scottish Enterprise, Strathclyde and Edinburgh universities, and the Technical University of Munich.

SSC has also partnered with Goonhilly and the Cornwall Space Centre to ensure the UK is covered at its northern and southern tips.

SSC is also working closely with Faroese Telecom as it builds relationships around the Arctic economy.

Frank Strang MBE, CEO of Shetland Space Centre, said, “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, revitalizing the economy, attracting visitors and establishing Shetland as a northern hub supporting vertical launch and ground station activity.”

Michael Haston, CEO of Leonne International, said, “We are always excited to partner with firms which exhibit ambition, innovation and excitement, and Shetland Space Centre exceeds these criteria with the plans they have in place for their satellite launch program. With the help of the SSC, Shetland’s space economy is unique and will inevitably become a very valuable asset to the UK.”

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