'Space race' hots up with first Shetland rocket launch

By John Johnston
BBC Scotland reporter

image copyrightSkyrora
image captionThe test rocket was launched at Fethaland

Scotland's "space race" has seen the first test rocket being fired from Shetland.

The Shetland islands are one of three proposed locations bidding to launch commercial satellites into space.

Edinburgh-based Skyrora launched its Skylark Nano rocket from the Fethaland peninsula at North Roe over the weekend.

The 6.5ft (2m) rocket successfully reached an altitude of about 20,000ft (6,100m).

Shetland is not alone in the race for space from Scotland, with the A'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland and North Uist in the Western Isles also in the mix.

As well as collecting meteorological data and measuring wind profiles, the Shetland rocket launch will help analyse trajectory and aid training in support of Skyrora's future plans.

Robin Hague, who headed the launch, said: "The launch signifies a vital step towards Skyrora's ambitions. We're ecstatic and truly proud.

"To understand the local launch conditions, learning more about the wind profiles in Shetland, is critical."

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