Scotland’s first rocket launch will likely ‘blow up’, says spaceport boss

Scotland’s first-ever private rocket launch could end in disaster as there’s a high chance of the shuttle blowing up, the boss of the spaceport involved has said. 

Frank Strang, chief executive of Saxa Vord in Shetland, says that despite the poor odds of success, a private customer may still want to take the chance. 

His company is waiting for a license for the UK’s first vertical launch and hopes to have the first test launch later this year.

Mr Strang compared his spaceport to NASA’s Cape Canaveral but said his spaceport is ready for any early problems. He pointed out that even SpaceX had initial launches that some saw as failures, but they were crucial learning experiences.

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When questioned about how the launch will compare to the recent failed launch of a Virgin Orbit shuttle, he said: “I fully expect the rocket to blow up.”

He added: “You never know, there might be a customer out there that’s prepared to take the risk.”

The UK Government values the space sector at a staggering £14.8billion per year.

However, earlier this year, Virgin Orbit’s attempt to launch a rocket from Cornwall ended in failure.

Virgin Orbit shut down, and its remaining assets were sold for a mere £29million. The failure also led to a shortage of available launch slots worldwide, as companies rushed to secure spots from competitors like SpaceX, the Telegraph reported.

The first rocket to launch from Saxa Ford will be one made by the German company Rocket Factory Ausberg, Mr Strang said.

Mr Strang said: “We always said we’re not building Cape Canaveral. But actually we are.

“And you need to remember that the customer base we’ve got, they’re all international and they’re coming to us”

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