Welcome to the Radio Saxa Vord podcast, featuring our young hosts Emily Strang and Bryden Priest.

Tune in to find out more about Unst’s role in the UK space industry and about community life in Shetland. And hear some great music.

You can download the latest episode by clicking the button below. 

Season Four 
Episode 08 - Shetland Tourism (feat. Steve Mathieson)

This week Emily and Bryden are joined by Visit Scotland Island Manager, Steve Mathieson. Steve talks about the tourism industry in Shetland and what makes it unique. We also hear from Steve about the impact that he believes SaxaVord Spaceport will have on the Shetland tourism industry and why this is a very exciting time in his role. Music by James Salestrom.

Season Four 
Episode 07 - Bright Ascension (feat. Andrew Nairn)

This week Emily and Bryden chat to Andrew Nairn from Bright Ascension. This company offers mission ready software in space and on the ground and is based in Dundee. We will hear why it is important to have small businesses offering unique services like this to create a successful space eco-system in Scotland. Music from Peter Wood.

Season Four 
Episode 06 - SaxaVord Spaceport on Tour

In this week’s episode, we hear from returning guest – Dr Mason Robbins. Mason is SaxaVord Spaceport’s Education Officer and chats to us about the recent ‘Space 102 Day’ and what he and Bryden got up to whilst down in England for a week. Music is by Steven Spence.

Season Four 
Episode 05 - Space Scotland

In this week’s episode Emily and Bryden have a discussion with Hina Khan, Executive Director of Space Scotland. Hina chats about the role Scotland has to play in the global space industry and how important the work at SaxaVord Spaceport really is. Music this week is by Ben Page.

Season Four 
Episode 04 - Range Safety Manager (feat. Russ Webster)

In this week’s episode, Emily and Bryden talk to Russ Webster who is the Range Safety Manager at SaxaVord Spaceport. Russ joined the team in November 2022 and tells us about his experiences prior to joining the company and what a day in his life looks like now. The music this week is a set of reels from Steven Spence.

Season Four 
Episode 03 - Up Helly Aa

This week Bryden and Emily talk all things Up Helly Aa. Bryden talks about his experiences with the festival and what it meant to him growing up. We also get to hear from Unst locals to learn what this event means to them and the community. Music is the Up Helly Aa Song performed by Peter Wood.
Use this link for a video to learn more about Up Helly Aa –

Season Four 
Episode 02 - Client Liaison (feat. Callum Ward)

This week Bryden is joined by SaxaVord Spaceport’s Client Liaison, Callum Ward. Callum offers the perspective of a young person who has moved to Unst to start working in this exciting industry and shares his story of how he got there. Music this week is from Steven Spence.

Season Four 
Episode 01 - Adrien Bourasseau

A new era! In this first episode of the new Radio Saxa Vord format, we are joined by Adrien Bourasseau from Latitude. Latitude have been doing some exciting work in Unst over the last few months and will be returning soon to continue. We also have music from Steven Spence to finish the episode.

Season Three 
Episode 07 - Season Finale!

In this week’s episode Bryden and Emily talk all about what’s to come for SaxaVord Spaceport and what we can expect from the future of the podcast! Music is from Peter Wood.

Season Three 
Episode 06 - One Year On With Deputy CEO Scott Hammond

In this episode, Emily and Bryden welcome back our first ever returning guest – Scott Hammond. Scott is Deputy CEO and Operations Director at SaxaVord Spaceport and gives us an update on how the project is progressing and what we should expect to see happening in the coming months. Music this week is from Leonard Brown.

Season Three 
Episode 05 - Domestic Site Manager Steve Carter

This week, we join Bryden as he speaks to SaxaVord Domestic Site Manager Steve Carter. Steve has worked at Saxa Vord Resort and now SaxaVord Spaceport for 10 years and will discuss the change he has seen on site over this time. Steve shares his thoughts on what makes the SaxaVord Spaceport team work so well together. We also have music from Peter Wood.

Season Three 
Episode 04 - Operations Manager Duncan Swainston

In this episode, Emily and Bryden chat to SaxaVord Spaceport Operations Manager, Duncan Swainston. Duncan joined the team full-time at the start of October after a career as an aircraft pilot. Duncan shares anecdotes about growing up in Shetland, his previous work and what his new job will entail. We also have music from Nell Hammond.

Season Three 
Episode 03 - Education and Sustainability

In this week’s episode, Emily and Bryden will introduce you to two of the newest members of the SaxaVord Spaceport team – Mason ‘Doc’ Robbins (Education Officer) and Sorcha Leavey (Sustainability Officer). Mason and Sorcha joined the team in January 2022 and have been working on some very exciting projects since then. 

Season Three 
Episode 02 - A Visit to Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska

In this week’s episode, we join Emily as she chats to SaxaVord Spaceport’s chief operating officer, Debbie Strang. Debbie discusses her role and the trip she took to Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) earlier this year. PSCA is a commercial and military spaceport located on Kodiak Island where the team carry out both sub-orbital and orbital launches.

Season Three 
Episode 01 - Updates, Updates and More Updates

Welcome back to Radio Saxa Vord! In this long-awaited return of the podcast, we hear from Emily and Bryden who update us on the most recent developments at SaxaVord Spaceport. We will hear about Farnborough Space-Comm Expo, the beginning of construction and the inaugural Unst Show Rocket competition!

Season Two
Episode 01 - Welcome Back! (feat. Frank Strang)

To kick off Season 2 of Radio Saxa Vord, Bryden and Emily speak to Frank Strang, the head of SaxaVord Spaceport. We learn more about how the space centre started, the changes in branding and about Frank’s background before the spaceport. Frank chose 2 songs for this episode, starting with ‘What Would You Say?’ performed and written by our very own Emily Strang and her brother Tom and finishing with ‘Ponies’ written by John Denver and performed by Jim Salestrom.

Season Two
Episode 02 - Wild Skies Shetland (feat Catriona Waddington and Chris McGinley)

This week Bryden and Emily speak to Wild Skies Shetland about how they started, their projects during the pandemic and their plans for the future, as well as their interactions with the SaxaVord Spaceport. The music for this episode is some traditional Shetland tunes performed by Angela Fraser and our very own Bryden Priest.

Season Two Episode 03 - Range Operations (feat Jimmy Slaughter)

This week Bryden and Emily speak to Jimmy Slaughter to talk to him about what it’s like being the range operations manager for SaxaVord Spaceport. We learn about what launch day will look like from his perspective and about what lead up to him taking the job. The music this week is ‘Julie and Graham’s Silver Wedding Waltz’ by Megan Nisbet from the island of Yell.

Season Two
Episode 04 - Astronaut Job Camp (feat Mike Mongo and Manik Foreman)

This week on the Radio Saxa Vord podcast we are joined by Mike Mongo and Manik Foreman who will be giving us an update on their summer in Unst. Mike and Manik delivered the Astronaut Job Camp and workshops in every single school in Shetland! We also hear a review from Grace Wood who is a space super-fan and attended the Astronaut Job Camp. The music for this episode is ‘Daddy’s Song’ by Jim Salestrom.

Season Two
Episode 05 - Special Edition: The New Enlightenment (feat various guests)

This week’s episode of the Radio Saxa Vord podcast is brought to you from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Braemar, Scotland. Emily and Bryden begin by hearing again from last week’s guest Mike Mongowho was present at the recent Inspiration 4 launch on 16th September, when Astronaut Job Camp guest Dr Sian Proctor became the first black woman to pilot a spacecraft. We also have live interviews from the New Enlightenment Summit which took place in Braemar at the beginning of September. Interviewees include politician Craig Harrow, Nick Halfhide of NatureScot, theoretical cosmologist Claudia De Rahm, professor and presenter Hannah Fry and Lord Rees, the Astronomer Royal.

Season Two
Episode 06 - Lockheed Martin (feat Nik Smith)

In this week’s episode of Radio Saxa Vord, we are joined by Nik Smith, Director of Lockheed Martin Space UK & Europe. Nik talks all about Lockheed’s work with SaxaVord Spaceport and tells us what the next few months have in store. Music this week is “The Stone of Destiny” by Paul Anderson.

Season Two
Episode 07 - Season Finale (feat Matjaz Vidmar)

In this final episode of Season Two we recap some of the highlights from the last six episodes. This week Bryden and Emily are also joined by Matjaz Vidmar, lecturer in engineering management at the University of Edinburgh. We hear Matjaz talk about his work with SaxaVord Spaceport and his thoughts on the project. The music this week is a song written especially for the SaxaVord Spaceport called “Satellites of SaxaVord” by Jim Salestrom.

Season One - Pilot
2nd May 2021

Welcome to Shetland Space Centre’s very own podcast, Radio Saxa Vord. In the first episode of Season 1, young hosts Emily Strang and Bryden Priest introduce themselves, Shetland and Unst, which is set to become the home of space launch in the UK next year. And there’s music from Aly Bain. There will be eight episodes in all in the first Season.

Episode 02 - The Shetland Space Centre - 9th May 2021

In episode two, our young hosts Emily and Bryden speak to Scott Hammond, Chief Operating Officer of Shetland Space Centre. They hear about the plans to turn Unst into the UK’s spaceport of choice, the development of the company, the plans for the future, the Scottish space industry, and why Unst is the best location for a space centre.

Episode 03 - Shetland and the Pandemic - 16th May 2021

This week Emily’s and Bryden’s guest is Jim McConnachie of NHS Shetland, and he’ll be talking about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Shetland and the space industry. Music is from James Salestrom, renowned US musician and son of Jim Salestrom, guitarist for Dolly Parton. Both visited Unst for the Shetland Reel Festival in 2015.

Episode 04 - Growing Up In Shetland - 23rd May 2021

This week’s podcast features special guest Drew Garrick, a Shetlander studying for his PhD in Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. Hosts Emily and Bryden hear about Drew’s experience growing up in a remote part of Shetland, his transition to life in Glasgow, how he ended up choosing his career path and his dreams for opportunities in the space sector in Shetland.

Episode 05 - Space and the Environment - 30th May 2021

We hope you have been enjoying our podcasts with young hosts Emily and Bryden. This week’s episode features Ruth Fain of ITP Energised, who was heavily involved in carrying out the very detailed environmental impact study prepared as part of Shetland Space Centre’s planning application. The discussion centres on spaceport and all the steps that will be taken to minimise its impact on birdlife and sealife.

Episode 06 - Music in Shetland - 06th June 2021

In the latest episode of our podcast, Emily and Bryden talk to Davie Gardner, who is a music promoter and journalist. Shetland has a long history of producing world class musicians and is probably best known for its traditional music. Davie tells us about the wide diversity of music in Shetland and the opportunities musicians have to perform in Shetland through its varied calendar of festivals. To hear some of the musicians mentioned in this episode, head for YouTube.

Aly Bain
Ross Couper
Catriona Macdonald

Artwork © Connie Dickie – category runner up in a Space Art competition run by Shetland Space Centre in 2020

Episode 07 - History of Unst - 13th June 2021

This week’s episode of the Saxa Vord podcast is all about local history through the eyes of people living in Shetland.

George Jamieson is an Unst resident and former head teacher of the Anderson High School in Lerwick, the largest school in the islands. Now retired, he recounts some memories of growing up in Unst, his school days during World War II and leaving the island to study and work. He has seen a lot of change over the years.

Emily and Bryden also interview Chris Dyer, archaeologist and military historian, who has made Shetland his home. He has a tremendous knowledge of historical sites in Shetland, including the headland at Lamba Ness, home to our launch site and to RAF Skaw during WWII.

Artwork © Rashik Saravanan – category runner up of a Space Art competition run by Shetland Space Centre in 2020

Music: Royal Air Force Music Services. UK Ministry of Defence © Crown copyright

Special Edition Podcast - MIKE MONGO’S ASTRONAUT JOB CAMP - 20th June 2021

In this special edition of the Radio Saxa Vord Podcast, Emily and Bryden are joined by Mike Mongo from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Mike is in Unst this summer working on the Astronaut Job Camp. We learn more about Mike’s journey to becoming an Astronaut Teacher and what his camp will look like. Mike and Bryden also discuss Mike’s experience in Shetland so far and why it is important for this camp to take place live from Unst.

Artwork © MIKE MONGO

Music: Golden Goals at the Gibby – Steven Spence

Episode 08 - Season Finale - 27th June 2021

That’s a wrap folks! In the final episode, our young hosts Emily and Bryden Recap the Season and share some laughs with Yvette Hopkins of the Shetland Space Centre.

Music by Jim Salestrom (Dolly Parton band member)
Artwork by Vaila Gunn