SaxaVord Spaceport has successfully carried out an exercise up to the point of launch, allowing for thorough testing of processes and procedures that are being developed for eventual spaceflight later this year.
Although weather conditions prevented the planned launch of a small-scale rocket in either of two “windows” agreed with airspace and maritime authorities, between 11am and 2pm on Wednesday 6th or Thursday 7thJuly, a huge amount was learned.
The SaxaVord launch campaign team were pleased with the outcome of the exercise, named Freya, the first in a series leading up to full launch from Lamba Ness in Unst later this year.
Had the weather been favourable, a 1m, 3D-printed rocket named Odysseus would have been launched by members of the Oxford University Rocketry Society.
SaxaVord Range Officer Jimmy Slaughter said: “We learned an enormous amount from this dress rehearsal, which involved transporting the rocket to the site and setting it up on a launch rail, then running through all our procedures and protocols up to the point of launch.
“The decision not to launch, which is of course not uncommon in the space industry, was made for safety reasons based on very accurate forecasting from a representative of the Met Office on site.
“One of the main purposes of the launch was to test our procedures for notification and ongoing engagement with a range of stakeholders, including Police Scotland, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Marine Scotland, Civil Aviation Authority, local companies and members of the community.”
Mr Slaughter said plans were already being made for a follow-up test exercise within the next few months.