Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

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Firefly Aerospace Owner Max Polyakov Sells Stake to Tom Markusic

Max Polyakov

Firefly Aerospace majority stakeholder Max Polyakov announced he was selling his shares to company co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic in a bitter message on his Facebook page.

I am giving up for 1 usd consideration all my 58% stake in Firefly to my co-founder and partner Tom. Dear CFIUS, Air Force and 23 agencies of USA who betrayed me and judge me in all your actions for past 15 months . I hope now you are happy . History will judge all of you guys. Max love Ukraine and yes I have Ukrainian passport and I am Founder of Firefly !!! Bye my “bird” and at the end of the days I proud what I done for my Land soul and heritage !!!

CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Late last year, the committee required that Polyakov, who is Ukrainian, sell his stake in the company. Bloomberg reported:

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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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ESA Provides €10.45 Million to Support Orbex & Skyrora Launch Vehicle Development

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

PARIS (ESA PR) — As part of its Boost! programme, ESA has signed two new contracts which support UK-based Orbex and Skyrora in their separate proposals for new commercial launch services for small satellites. These services are set to start in the UK from 2022.

ESA has awarded €7.45 million [£6.42 million/$8.11 million] of co-funding to Orbex and its partners, and €3 million [£2.59 million/$3.55 million] to Skyrora.

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Skyrora Reveals New UK-built Vehicle in Live Test

Engine test (Credit: Skyrora)

EDINBURGH, Scotland (Skyrora PR) — On 23rd December 2020 the Skyrora test and flight operations team performed one of their most important test campaigns to date, a full upper stage static fire test, at their engine development complex in Fife, Scotland. This historic event represents yet another significant milestone in the Edinburgh-based rocket manufacturer’s development plan. In fact, it is a crucial milestone for the entire UK space industry.

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Skyrora Conducts Vacuum Chamber Engine Tests to Replicate Space-like Conditions

Booster (Credit: Skyrora)

Scotland-based company successfully conducts a series of 100 static engine firing tests including a vacuum chamber engine test

EDINBURGH (Skyrora PR)  – UK rocket company, Skyrora, has conducted a series of static test fires of its 3rd stage LEO engine, including a vacuum chamber test, designed to replicate space-like conditions to further advance its launch ambitions.

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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.”  

Skyrora Looks to Launch Small Satellites From Scotland

Credit: Skyrora

Another week, another small satellite launch company.

Skyrora, a privately-funded launch vehicle developer with a research and development hub in Ukraine, unveiled its plans for entering the small satellite launch market during the Reinventing Space conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, this week.

Edinburgh-based Skyrora, which is currently developing an orbital launch vehicle and has recently started a series of engine test firings, has plans to launch from the UK and follow in the footsteps of Black Arrow through the use of a high-test peroxide (HTP) and Kerosine propellants.

Daniel Smith, business development manager, said: “The use of advanced manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing, access to expertise in Ukraine and our choice of propellant/oxidiser will give us an edge in what is becoming an increasingly competitive market.”

“Scotland is an ideal place from which to operate. Its launch suitability, strong manufacturing history and the fact that Glasgow, in particular, is a leading city within the European space sector are all positive factors.”

Prior to attending the Rispace conference, Skyrora executives visited the Shetland Islands off the north east coast of Scotland as part of their search for a launch site.

According to the company’s website, Skyrora is working on two boosters: the suborbital Skyrora 1 and the three-stage orbital Skyrora XL. The website does not include any information on payload capacity.