Edinburgh-based space-company, Skyrora has taken its next major step towards reaching orbit by successfully carrying out its second rocket launch. Taking place at Kildermorie Estate, Ross-shire, Skyrora celebrated lift-off of ‘Skylark Nano’ - a two metre rocket which reached an altitude of around six kilometres. Following clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority and watched by the launch team and key investors, the ‘Skylark Nano’ rapidly accelerated to Mach 1.46 – more than 1,811km per hour.
The launch saw Skyrora successfully test its new telemetry and tracking systems which will eventually be used on full orbital launch vehicles as it moves closer to becoming a key launch provider in the UK.
Gordon McNeil, Safety Range Officer at Skyrora, said: “This launch represents another vital step for Skyrora as we aim to become the UK's main satellite launch provider.
“There’s a whole host of positives that we take from this latest launch, from the quality of our processes and ground control systems, through to the proven accuracy of our computer simulated flight trajectory.
“Testing days are hugely important for providing the team with vital training and operations practise for upcoming suborbital and orbital flights. The success from our testing days and in reaching this stage so smoothly is testament to the dedication of the Skyrora team. “There’s a real buzz of excitement around the Scottish and UK space scene and we’re proud to be playing an important role in that.”
“It’s crucial that we use this step-by-step process to refine our launches to minimise risk as we move quickly towards our full orbital launch ambitions.”
Skyrora is currently looking for locations across the UK for its upcoming three launches. Two of the three launches will be capable of reaching the edge of space - a feat never accomplished by a private company launching from the UK before.
The Scottish firm celebrated the inaugural testing of its fully 3D-printed bi-liquid rocket engine in Cornwall earlier this month, with partners, local school children and members of the media present to celebrate the UK milestone.
The engine boasts stop-start technology, meaning Skyrora’s rocket can deliver satellites to different orbits – similar to a bus dropping people off at different locations on its route.
Skyrora aims to complete the first launch of its Skyrora XL vehicle from a British spaceport by 2022. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Skyrora aims to capture its share of the fast-growing small satellite launch market and is developing launch vehicle technology that builds on previous rocket systems.
It aims to reduce the cost of launches thanks to proven technology and advanced engineering methods.
The firm draws on Britain’s launch heritage and aims to build a robust supply chain while creating new employment opportunities to inspire the next generation of talent.