Lockheed Martin Outlines SaxaVord Satellite Launch Plans

Lockheed Martin has outlined its plans for conducting northern Europe’s first vertical satellite launch from SaxaVord Spaceport next year.

Representatives from the company’s UK and US based space business have been meeting local community representatives and Shetland Islands council to share latest developments in the program, known as UK Pathfinder Launch, and solicit local opinions and views. 

UK Pathfinder Launch, will be the first ever vertical small satellite launch from UK soil and also be the first UK commercial launch for US-based ABL Space Systems’ new RS-1 rocket.

“We’re really excited to be here with the SaxaVord spaceport team and meet with the local community in Unst and the Shetland Islands Council, as we progress our plans to hold the UK’s first vertical launch in 2022,” said Dr. Scott Rodgers, program execution director, Lockheed Martin Space.

The SaxaVord launch facility will eventually create circa 140 jobs in Unst and inject at least £4.9m per annum into the island’s economy. It will provide a further 70 jobs throughout Shetland, adding a further £2.9m in gross value to the economy.

“We have had an excellent few days of engagement with the Lockheed Martin team as we combine forces to deliver the UK Pathfinder launch in 2022,” Frank Strang, CEO of SaxaVord UK Spaceport, added. “They have affirmed to ourselves and the Unst and Shetland community their determination to succeed with this mission. We look forward to working closely with them in the year ahead.”

Lockheed Martin UK has operated in the UK for nearly 80 years. From postal sorting technology to helping build the UK’s first commercial spaceport, its innovations and partnerships help solve some of the UK’s most complex challenges, contributing to national defense, security and prosperity.