Name change and rebrand for our rocket site

Shetland Space Centre is changing its name to SaxaVord Spaceport as it rebrands to position itself at the heart of the new space economy in Europe.

The rocket launch site and ground station, located in the UK’s most northerly island of Unst, Shetland, is already the designated site of next year’s UK Pathfinder launch by Lockheed Martin and ABL Systems.

And as they seek to make Shetland synonymous with the new space economy as well as build on their existing client base, the company’s owners recognised that the time was right to be clear about its vision, mission, values and behaviours.

Unst was clearly identified as the optimal site for launching small satellites into low earth orbit in the independent Sceptre Report, commissioned by the UK Government to identify the most commercially viable launch locations in the UK.

Saxa Vord is the name of the highest hill in Unst (935ft) which overlooks both the launch site and the former RAF Saxa Vord base where launch control and mission support personnel will be accommodated.

In Norse mythology, Saxa was a giant who lived on the hill, while across the water resided Herma (hence Hermaness). For amusement, they threw huge boulders at one another.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “Having bought the former RAF Saxa Vord base back in 2005, and worked for many years looking for a theme for the Saxa Vord Resort, it was really a case of back to the future with the name change.

“We have always spoken of the progression in Shetland from the Viking age to the space age, in fact ‘from the Longship to the Spaceship’ is a strap line we use on our pop up stands, and the new name evokes that wonderfully.

“SaxaVord Spaceport is the home of the UK Space Agency’s Vertical Launch Pathfinder Programme and will become a successful, internationally-recognised new space business with safety and superior value being our hallmarks.”

Emma Beaton, creative manager at Azzurro Blu, the Aberdeen-based marketing agency selected to undertake the rebranding work and to provide on-going marketing support, said: “We are thrilled to be involved. It’s hugely exciting to be part of such a dramatic project.

“The history of the business, its commitment to the local community, and its powerful vision to be an important part of the ‘new space’ industry, combine to create a thoroughly compelling brand. In the UK space industry and abroad, it’s going to be a brand to watch.”

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