SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland Islands Becomes UK’s First Vertical Rocket Launch Site

The SaxaVord Spaceport, located on the small island of Unst in the Shetland Islands, has received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to become the UK’s first spaceport for vertical rocket launches. The site is set to begin launches in 2024 and will be the first fully-licensed spaceport in Western Europe capable of launching rockets vertically into orbit.

The SaxaVord Spaceport has been granted permission to conduct up to 30 launches per year, with the primary purpose of deploying satellites and other payloads into space. The spaceport, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, has attracted several launch operators from around the world who are currently developing rockets.

German rocket firm HyImpulse is expected to attempt sub-orbital launches from SaxaVord starting in August. Subsequently, full orbital launches are planned to commence in 2025. Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), another German company, also has plans for orbital launches from the spaceport. Additionally, Lockheed Martin/ABL Space Systems is preparing for the official UK Government Pathfinder launch from SaxaVord.

Skyrora, an Edinburgh-based company, aims to be the first UK firm to conduct launches from British soil in the near future. The SaxaVord Spaceport, originally a former RAF radar station, is co-owned by Frank and Debbie Strang. The couple purchased the site 15 years ago with initial plans to develop it into an eco-tourism attraction.

Mr. Strang expressed his excitement about the awarding of the license, describing it as a “historic” moment. He emphasized the team’s pride in being entrusted with the operation of a complex and multi-launch spaceport. The space industry in the UK is estimated to be worth £17.5 billion and supports tens of thousands of jobs across thousands of firms.

The CAA’s decision to grant SaxaVord its license is seen as a significant milestone for the UK space sector. Tim Johnson, the director of space regulation at the CAA, stated that this marks a new chapter for UK space as rockets may soon be launching satellites into orbit from Scotland. The UK Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, believes that this announcement will boost the economy of Shetland and position the United Kingdom as a leader in spaceflight innovation.

Last week, the UK Space Agency also announced funding of over £6.7 million to further support Scotland’s spaceport ambitions. With five proposed spaceports under development in Scotland, including the Sutherland Spaceport and plans for additional spaceports in North Uist, Glasgow Prestwick, and Spaceport Machrihanish, the country is positioning itself to play a significant role in the burgeoning space industry.

The granting of the license to SaxaVord Spaceport represents a significant step forward for the UK’s space capabilities. As preparations continue and the spaceport begins operations in 2024, the UK is poised to enter a new era of space exploration and satellite deployment, further solidifying its position as a key player in the global space race.


Source: BBC

Taylor Swift Embraces Scottish Roots and Describes Scotland as a “Really Special Place” Ahead of Edinburgh Gigs

In a surprising revelation, global superstar Taylor Swift has expressed her love for Scotland, describing it as a “really special place.” The Grammy-winning artist, who is set to perform three highly anticipated gigs at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium next year as part of her Eras Tour, recently opened up about her Scottish heritage and her plans to explore the country after the tour concludes.

During her 2015 concert at the Glasgow Hydro, Swift, 33, delighted her Scottish fans by disclosing her familial connections to the region. It was then discovered that she had ancestral links to none other than William the Lion, adding an extra layer of historical significance to her Scottish lineage.

Speaking about her roots, Swift shared, “Scotland is a really special place for me – last time I was there, the crowd was amazing, and I felt like we really connected.” The talented singer-songwriter went on to reveal that her father, Scott, 71, takes immense pride in their Scottish heritage and informed her that a significant portion of their family history can be traced back to Scotland. Naturally, Swift expressed her excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to perform in the country that holds such personal significance for her.

Swift’s affinity for Scotland has been evident throughout her career. During her 2015 Glasgow gig, she proudly showcased her tartan heart, informing the crowd that her father had sent her an email before the show, urging her to let everyone know about their Scottish roots.

As anticipation builds for her upcoming performances in Edinburgh, fans can expect Swift to bring her signature energy and passion to the stage, further solidifying her connection with the Scottish audience. With her deep appreciation for the country’s rich history and her own ancestral ties, it is certain to be a memorable experience for both the artist and her fans.

Beyond her professional commitments, Swift intends to take some time off after the tour to immerse herself in the beauty and culture of Scotland. It seems that the country has truly captured her heart, and she is eager to explore the land of her ancestors.

As Taylor Swift prepares to grace the stage in Edinburgh, her love for Scotland serves as a testament to the enduring bond between artists and their roots. Her heartfelt connection with the country and its people promises to make her performances all the more remarkable, leaving her Scottish fans eagerly awaiting her arrival on the grand stage of Murrayfield Stadium.

Source: Daily Record

Ireland Dominates Scotland in Emphatic Victory, South African Hopes Intact

In a highly anticipated match, Ireland showcased their dominance over Scotland as they secured an emphatic victory. Despite the bookmakers favouring Ireland, Scotland was fighting for their tournament survival while Ireland had already secured their spot in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Right from the start, Ireland asserted their superiority as James Lowe scored a try in the corner within the first 90 seconds of the game. Scotland launched a relentless attack on the Irish defence for 12 minutes but failed to convert their efforts into points, dispelling any notion that Ireland might be ready to concede the match.

Unfortunately for Scotland, their captain Jamie Ritchie was forced to leave the field due to severe pain and was unable to continue.

Ireland continued to assert their dominance, with fullback Hugo Keenan scoring their second try in the 25th minute. Five minutes later, Iain Henderson barged over the Scottish defence, extending Ireland’s lead to 19-0. Just before halftime, Keenan scored his second try, giving Ireland a commanding 26-0 lead.

Early in the second half, Scotland’s Ollie Smith was yellow-carded for tripping Johnny Sexton, and Ireland capitalised on the numerical advantage with Dan Sheehan scoring in the corner. Garry Ringrose added another try for Ireland shortly after.

With 15 minutes remaining, Scotland managed to salvage some pride with two quick tries from Ewan Ashman and Ali Price, bringing their total to 14 points. However, it was not enough to change the outcome of the match.

The resounding victory for Ireland, with six tries to Scotland’s two, solidifies their path towards the William Ellis Cup. While Scottish dreams are shattered, South African hopes remain alive, as the Springboks eagerly await their crucial upcoming matches in the tournament.

(Pictured above: Ireland taking on Scotland)