Navigational Assessment for Shetland Space Centre

Supporting Shetland Space Centre's marine licence application ahead of a planned launch site build

The Shetland Space Centre (SSC) plans to build a launch site and ground tracking station on Unst, Shetland Islands. It aims to be fully operational by 2021. SSC commissioned ABPmer to investigate any navigational issues ahead of their marine licence application.

Following consultation with regulators, harbour authorities and local marine users, we provided marine licensing advice and a Navigational Risk Assessment (NRA). The NRA, completed in liaison with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, covers the first planned activities: balloon and short-range sounding rocket launches. Through the NRA process, the potential impact on maritime activities in the operational launch and recovery areas were assessed.

The NRA identified that, whilst balloon and rocket launch and recovery activities have the potential to interact with vessel traffic during operations, the risk can be mitigated through a series of active warning, monitoring and recovery measures.

Image © Shetland Space Centre; used with permission