Rocket Factory UK gets £3.5m boost to launch from Shetland Islands

Rocket Factory UK, SaxaVord Spaceport launch site Rocket Factory UK, SaxaVord Spaceport launch site

The UK subsidiary of the German-based Rocket Factory Augsburg AG has received a £3.5m funding boost from the UK Space Agency to launch from the Shetland Islands.

Rocket Factory UK has also been granted “exclusive access” to launch its 30-metre tall rocket from SaxaVord Spaceport’s Fredo launch pad.

“We are eagerly anticipating our inaugural orbital launch in mainland Europe from the SaxaVord Spaceport on British territory,” said Jörn Spurmann, managing director of Rocket Factory UK.

Financing from the UK Space Agency has been granted for research and testing of the Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland-headquartered company’s launch apparatus.

Approximately 90 jobs in the area are expected to be created when SaxaVord Spaceport is fully operational. Rocket Factory UK’s first launch is scheduled for Q2 next year.

John Lamont, UK Government Minister for Scotland, said: “The Scottish space sector continues to go from strength to strength with the latest figures showing an almost £40m increase in income and more than 100 new highly-skilled jobs with support from the UK Government.”

The UK Space Agency has in the past has supplied £23.4m to Lockheed Martin to manufacture a “small launch orbital manoeuvring vehicle” in Reading and launch from SaxaVord Spaceport.

Scotland is also home to a vertical spaceport in Sutherland, which rocket launch firm Orbex started to build in May.