All Systems Are Go: Lockheed Martin Welcomes Approval From Shetland Islands Council For SaxaVord Spaceport Construction

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin UK welcomes the approval from Shetland Islands Council to build the SaxaVord spaceport that will allow the company to deliver the UK’s first ever vertical space launch.

Harwell, Oxford, UK, February 28, 2022 (Lockheed Martin PR) – Lockheed Martin UK welcomes the approval from Shetland Islands Council to build the SaxaVord spaceport that will allow the company to deliver the UK’s first ever vertical space launch.

The green light has been given for construction to start on site, with plans for Lockheed Martin to deliver the inaugural ‘UK Pathfinder Launch’ later this year alongside its partners at the US Space Agency, ABL Space Systems and SaxaVord Spaceport. This will also be the first UK commercial launch for US-based ABL Space Systems’ new RS1 rocket.

The development of the SaxaVord spaceport is a key step forward in helping the UK to unlock growth in the space sector while also demonstrating alignment to the country’s growth, security and prosperity plans, including investment in local skills and economies. Now approved, the SaxaVord launch facility is set to create circa 140 jobs in Unst and inject at least £4.9m into the Shetland Island economy each year. It will also provide a further 70 jobs throughout Shetland, adding a further £2.9m in gross value to the economy.

Nik Smith, UK and Europe regional director for Lockheed Martin said: “The launch of the UK’s first vertical rocket is a major step forward in the development of commercial UK space opportunities, so we’re proud to be supporting the UK Space Agency to achieve their goal of creating a world-leading commercial launch market through regular, reliable and responsible access to space.

“We have been delighted with the support that has been shown to us by the Unst community and are very pleased that approval from the Shetland Islands council was received today.”

Frank Strang, CEO of SaxaVord UK Spaceport, said: “Lockheed Martin are a strategic partner for the Saxavord Spaceport and today’s announcement is a positive step towards growing the UK space strategy. We are excited to begin the construction work and progress the plans for the launch.”

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Lockheed Martin has operated in the UK for nearly 80 years and employs 1,600 people at 22 sites across the country.

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