Companies in Space – Skyrora, Scotland

10th Mar 2020
Skyrora rocket

The Edinburgh-based launch company haven’t really said much about what their first launch will be and when, and as far as we are aware, haven’t announced where that launch will be, so we’ve taken a closer look.

The UK Space Industry has steadily increased its prospects of securing a solid niche in the international launch market, and private companies, Skyrora included, will play a large part in this significant gain. According to Skyrora, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, their new ultralight rocket, Skylark L, could launch as early as next year. The actual date of the first suborbital launch has not yet been announced, but the new 3D printed engine for the vehicle and fuel tests have all proven successful, making the vehicle “ready to go”.

Skyrora Offers Five New Vehicles to Make Launches More Affordable

Skyrora have been developing commercial launch vehicles for small satellites since 2017. According to their website, the company is working on five launch vehicles and appear to be taking a careful, measured approach, by scaling up the size of launch vehicle gradually. They recently did a live test launch with their reasonably small Skylark Nano.

Skylark L can launch up to 50kg of payload 100-km high, and the vehicle will then return to Earth with a parachute.

Skyrora’s unique technological solutions, specifically the four-wing vehicle design will ensure stable aerodynamics and has already helped to reduce production time and cost, while at the same time, increasing the vehicle’s safety and reliability.

3D printing and eco-friendly fuel

An encapsulated module, assembled separately, is used to meet the payload requirements. Engine components are created using 3D printing and are designed to work with their innovative Ecosene fuel, produced from plastic waste. Skyrora promises that this fuel will make launches 90% more environmentally friendly compared to the usual combination of kerosene and liquid oxygen.

According to Skyrora, they can produce around 600kg of Ecosene from one tonne of plastic. This fuel does not require cryogenic freezing and can be stored in tanks for long periods of time.

Although the company’s first vehicle is ready to launch next year, the first commercial launch may be more likely two years away. Skyrora have themselves suggested in recent announcements that they will start commercial launches from 2022, either from the Sutherland Spaceport or elsewhere in Scotland.

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