KIDS in Scotland could soon be seeing stars as Shetland prepares to build one of the most important spaceports on the planet.
Due to the islands’ unique location, the Shetland Space Centre is ideally equipped to send satellites into space from launchpads on the isle of Unst.
After submitting its incredible plans, the centre is now waiting for approval so they can start working towards infinity and beyond.
Yvette Hopkins, senior manager at Shetland Space Centre, believes their
plans could inspire a whole generation of children.
She says: “This is a really exciting time for young people in Scotland. They can do the full ecosystem of space right here in Shetland.
“We are steeped in history and Scotland is well known for its innovation.
“Our relationship with the skies dates very far back and this is just a continuation. It’s all coming together and part of it has to do with simple
geography, but a lot of it has to do with our history.
“We are a sea-faring nation and now a space-faring nation, and that is exciting.
“So the future is wildly bright, it’s sun-and-star bright for our children and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Right now, NASA has a rover on Mars, with Perseverance landing on the Red Planet at the end of last week.
And Yvette said the whole of the space community is watching with bated breath.
She said: “We were all extremely excited about it. It was a big advancement and something that gives a lot of hope for the future.”
The rover landing is a huge development in the world of space exploration and has led to people talking about the next big breakthrough.
And Yvette says the biggest goal of Shetland Space Centre is to one day have a local hit the button to send a rocket into space.
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She admits: “One of the things that is near and dear to our hearts is the kids of today and when it comes to pressing the ‘big red button’, we hope it’s a Shetlander who’s going to do that in the near future.
“That is our whole goal and we’ve started to work with the local council and
established something called the Shetland Space Education and Employment Pipeline. So we have a real buzz right now, from an early
nursery age all the way through to secondary, trade, apprenticeships and further education.”
The hope is that the spaceport will be built this summer and the here has already thought of some amazing ways to make the isle of Unst a must-see space tourist attraction.
There will be a virtual interpretation centre where visitors can
immerse themselves in the space experience.
Yvette explains: “We really hope that people will be able to see
these historic launches live and in-person.
“However, if that’s not possible, people will still be able to see
them virtually. For example, you can run your phone over a launchpad and see the last launch that took place.
“So Shetland, and in particular Unst, will become these really
bustling locations with lots of fun activities.”
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