The Anonymous Widower

Shetland Blasts Off Into Space Race As Britain’s First Rocket Launch Pad Skyrora

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

This second paragraph, explains what Skyrora are doing.

Skyrora, a technology company with its headquarters in Edinburgh, has agreed a deal for scores of rocket launches over the next decade from a site on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland islands.

This Google Map shows the most Northerly part of Unst.

There’s not really much there, except birds, trees and the most northerly house in Britain.

Enlarging to the West of the house, gives this second Google Map.

Note the Remote Radar Head Saxa Vord, which has a Wikipedia entry as RAF Saxa Voe.

  • It is now a fully-operational radar station again, after closure in 2006.
  • It is at the same latitude as St. Petersburg and Anchorage.
  • In 1992, it measured a wind speed of 197 mph, before the equipment blew away.

The Wikipedia entry is worth a read, as it gives a deep insight into radar and its tracking of Russian intruders in the Cold War.

This third Google Map shows a 3D closeup of the radar.

No staff are based at Saxa Vord, although maintenance staff do visit.

According to The Times, the space port will be at Lamba Ness, which is to the East of the most northerly house in Britain.

The peninsular in the South-East is marked Lamba Ness.

It may seem a very bleak place, but it could have one thing, that rocketry will need – rocket fuel!

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I introduced Project Orion, which is an electrification and hydrogen hub and clean energy project in the Shetland Islands.

The project’s scope is described in this graphic.

Note

  1. Project Orion now has its own web site.
  2. A Space Centre is shown on the Island of Unst.
  3. There is an oxygen pipeline shown dotted in blue from the proposed Sullom Voe H2 Plant to the Fish Farm and on to the Space Centre.
  4. I suspect if required, there could be a hydrogen pipeline.

The Space Centre on Unst could be fuelled by renewable energy.

Who Are Skyrora?

They have a web site, which displays this mission statement.

Represents a new breed of private rocket companies developing the next generation of launch vehicles for the burgeoning small satellite market.

The Times also has this paragraph.

At the end of last year, the company also completed trials of the third stage of its Skyrora XL rocket, including its orbital transfer vehicle which, once in orbit, can refire its engines 15 times to carry out tasks such as acting as a space tug, completing maintenance or removing defunct satellites.

The company seems to have big ambitions driven by innovation and a large range of ideas.

Conclusion

I shall be following this company.

 

October 12, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If Microsoft Built Cars…

There are loads of jokes that start like this and you can find pages on the Internet  like this.

But what if Microsoft built planes?

This article on the BBC shows the result.

The plan is to use the Stratolaunch plsne to launch satellites. More is here on Wikipedia.

The idea is not new, The North American X-15 of the 1950s, was a space plane that was launched from under the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress.

Wikipedia says this about the flights of the X-15

During the X-15 program, 13 flights by eight pilots met the Air Force spaceflight criterion by exceeding the altitude of 50 miles (80 km), thus qualifying these pilots as being astronauts.

Not bad for an conventional rocket-powered aeroplane built over half a century ago!

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Does The Internet Lead Us To Strange Places?

This report on the BBC about the end of the GOCE satellite, was to me very much a must-read, as it covers a lot of my interests. It probably will make a lot of others think about the Falkland Islands too. But it was this paragraph that caught my eye.

American military data timed this event to have occurred at 00:16 GMT, or 21:16 local Falkland time – just as Bill, his wife Vicky, and dad, Tony Chater, were making their way home after spending the day with King Penguins.

I hadn’t realised that there were King Penguins on the islands. Looking them up in Wikipedia, it said that the biggest King Penguin colony is on Crozet Island, which is a French overseas territory.

There really are some amazing places in this world, some of which are virtually inaccessible.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Made In Stevenage and Congleton

The Times today has an article about how a large proportion of the satellites we need are made in Stevenage.

Our space presence may be small in media terms, but in the bits that matter like jobs, money and technology it’s rather large.

The paper also has an article about how a company called Senior is doing rather well, by selling high-tech bits and pieces to Boeing, Airbus and Rolls-Royce.

So don’t write-off the manufacturing sector of the economy.  Find out the truth!

April 27, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , | 4 Comments