Skyrora Signs Decade-long, Multi-launch Deal with Shetland Spaceport

Skyrora XL lifts off the launch pad. (Credit: Skyrora)

EDINBURGH, 12th October 2021 (Skyrora PR) — British rocket company Skyrora has agreed a multi-launch deal with the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands, as it moves closer to launching its XL rocket in 2022. This is the first agreement Skyrora has made with a Scottish Spaceport. If successful, this could be the first rocket to go to space from the UK. The multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord will run for the next decade, giving Skyrora the ability to build towards their target of 16 launches a year by 2030. 

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2020 a Busy Year for Suborbital Launches

New Shepard landing on the pad in West Texas on October 13, 2020, with the NASA Lunar Landing Sensor Demo onboard. (Credit: Blue Origin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Suborbital launch used to be a sleepy field that rarely attracted much public attention. Let’s face it, atmospheric research and student experiments are not front-page news. Sounding rockets don’t have the majesty and power of a Falcon 9 or Atlas V.

In recent years, exciting new entrants in the field and widespread streaming of launches have made suborbital flights exciting. Last year saw important suborbital flight tests by SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Skyrora that garnered worldwide interest.

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Skyrora Launches Skylark Micro Booster

Skyrora conducted the launch on Sunday from Langanes Peninsula in Iceland.

Skyrora described Skylark Micro as a two-stage, four-meter tall suborbital rocket. The UK-based company is developing a family of suborbital and orbital boosters.

Skyrora described the purpose of the Skylark Micro launch in an update on the company’s website.

Following the July test for trajectory and hardware on the Skylark Nano, the Icelandic launch of the Skylark Micro will test onboard avionics and communications as well as practice marine recovery operations. Skyrora’s de-risking programme is based on testing its systems with smaller and more cost-effective vehicles before they are used in their larger Skylark L and Skyrora XL rockets. Their low Earth orbital rocket, the Skyrora XL, is scheduled to launch in 2023.

Volodymyr Levykin, chief executive officer from Skyrora said: “Skyrora’s de-risking programme is essential for scaling, learning and education before we launch our two commercial vehicles, Skylark L and Skyrora XL. The entire team is working at a pace and has made great efforts to get another launch underway. I’d also like to express my thanks and gratitude towards Iceland’s government, which has been tremendously supportive with the preparations for this upcoming launch.”