By January 7, 2020 Read More →

Scientists hopeful for groundstation decision

NASA scientist Dr Gene Carl Feldman has weighed in on the debate over plans to move a satellite monitoring facility in Perthshire, arguing that Scotland’s space industry will be significantly weakened if the plans are rejected.

Based within Dundee University, Dundee Satellite Receiving Station is currently being decommissioned after an NERC funding cut of £338,000 forced the university to withdraw its support.

A planning application has been submitted to relocate the station to the former RAF Errol airfield. The managers of the station intend to site five ground-mounted antennas (four tracking antennas and a 3m GEO antenna) on the disused runways.

While there are current expectations for launch from Scotland, there is no established ground station support.

The Fife edition of the Courier local newspaper reported that Dr Feldman had written to planners at Perth and Kinross Council, saying: “It is my opinion that the Scottish space industry will be significantly weakened if this planning application is denied and therefore I strongly encourage the council to grant it permission so that they can resume the important work that they have carried out for the benefit of humankind for so many years.”

The assets of the receiving station have been acquired by the newly formed Dundee Satellite Station Ltd, which is hoping to set up a new site at Errol. The directors are hopeful that they will receive a positive decision from Perth and Kinross Council on the planning application, and are looking forward to the task of resurrecting what was Scotland’s only significant ground station.

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