New balloon satellite study amid Shetland Space Centre plans

  • Published

Plans to set up a space centre in Shetland have taken another step forward with a feasibility study into using Unst as a launch site for a new satellite balloon system.

Shetland Space Centre has joined forces with B2Space, a Bristol-based firm.

It is developing a small satellite launcher centred on a stratospheric balloon known as a rockoon.

The rocket is carried into the upper atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated and ignited.

'Major new sector'

B2Space co-founder Valentin Canales said: "The study will demonstrate the convenience of Shetland as a launch location for polar and sun-synchronous orbits, and will show the potential of Shetland for other launch operators."

SSC project director Scott Hammond said: "We're delighted to have teamed up with Valentin and his team and look forward to taking the next steps on developing what is potentially a major new sector of the Shetland economy."

Unst is Scotland's most northerly island.

Scotland already has a successful space industry, building satellites and the components for them.