Edinburgh-based space company Skyrora marked a major milestone on Saturday after successfully launching its Skylark Nano rocket from Shetland.
The Skylark Nano was launched from the Fethaland Peninsula on North Roe for the first time and reached an altitude of six kilometres.
Skyrora confirmed the launch was completed for educational purposes, with the projectile collecting meteorological data and measuring wind profiles.
Analysis of the vehicle’s trajectory and crucial training was also carried out during the launch to support the company’s future launch plans.
Volodymyr Levykin, CEO of Skyrora, said the launch is a significant moment for Britain’s commercial space sector.
“With this successful launch from Shetland we are further closing the gap to making the UK a rocket launching nation again,” he said.
“For Skyrora, this test was all about learning and training. The innovation at Skyrora is enormous, not only are we producing high-quality results, but we are doing so with minimum impact to the environment as we strive to develop eco-friendly technology in our launches,” Levykin added.
This marks the third time the Skylark Nano has taken to the skies and follows a successful full static fire test of the Skylark-L launch vehicle last month.
The Skylark Nano’s first launch took place in Ross-shire in 2018, and since then Skyrora has continued to develop cutting-edge research ahead of its first planned commercial orbital launches.
We are proud to announce that we have successfully launched Skylark Nano from Shetland soil for the first time. This launch was for educational purposes, and signifies a vital step towards our future ambitions.
Read the full article here: https://t.co/6MkouemzE3#Scotlandtospace pic.twitter.com/hLV203tOAo
— Skyrora (@Skyrora_Ltd) June 15, 2020
Robin Hague, Head of Launch at Skyrora, hailed the company’s success and insisted the company is on track to become one of the UK’s premier satellite launch providers.
“Skylark Nano’s third successive launch is testament to the engineers who have worked tirelessly to bring to life a reusable rocket that can provide valuable intelligence for the future of the UK space programme,” Hague said.
“The launch signifies a vital step towards Skyrora’s ambitions to become the UK’s “go-to” satellite launch provider. We’re ecstatic and truly proud. This is a great success for Skylark Nano, and the Skyrora team in general,” he added.
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Skyrora plans to launch from one of the three proposed spaceports in Scotland and says that long-term, commercial launches from Shetland are an option.
“Launching from Shetland is very important for us because it’s a potential option for our Skyrora XL orbital commercial launch vehicle.
“To understand the local launch conditions learning more about the wind profiles in Shetland is critical,” Hague said.
The Edinburgh-headquartered firm aims to create 170 jobs by the end of 2023 and becoming a key figure in the UK’s commercial space ambitions.