Unst space centre test balloon launch hailed a success

unst space centre test balloon launch hailed a success - Unst space centre test balloon launch hailed a success

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Media captionThe balloon rose to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere after its release on Sunday

The test launch of a balloon in Shetland for a system that can deliver small satellites into orbit has been hailed a success.

Shetland Space Centre joined forces with B2Space, a Bristol-based firm which developed the stratospheric balloon launch system known as rockoon.

The launch – described as the UK’s first commercial spaceflight-related activity – was in Unst on Sunday.

The balloon soared 37km (23 miles) to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.

It is hoped there could be a space centre within two years.

‘Best location’

B2Space co-founder Valentin Canales said: “We are very pleased with how the test launch has gone.

“We have a large amount of data to analyse, but from what we know already we can confirm that we intend to set up a base here in Unst in preparation for future launches.

“We know the technology will work, and this launch was the first step, with many more to come.”

Shetland Space Centre (SSC) project director Scott Hammond said: “The balloon launch has been a major success, proving that Unst is the best location for launching into space.”

Image copyright Shetland Space Centre
Image caption Unst is Scotland’s most northerly island

He said Unst’s advantages included clear airspace and clear sea for the trajectory of whatever is being launched.

Unst is Scotland’s most northerly island.

Scotland already has a successful space industry, building satellites and the components for them.

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