Next year’s launch of the UK’s first space rocket will be from the Shetland Islands, where a deal has been struck between Skyrora, a rocket company in Edinburgh, and a spaceport belonging to Scotland’s largest landowner on the islands, the northernmost spot in Britain. ft 56 ton built by Skyrora to move satellites into orbit.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, no rocket has reached space from the UK so far, and the SaxaVord Spaceport program has received an investment of 1.43 million pounds from Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povelsen, who owns large swathes of rural areas in Scotland.
SaxaVord still needs planning permission for its launch site on Unst Island, and Skyrora founder and CEO Volodymyr Levikin said: “We have made no secret of our ambition to be the first company to launch from UK soil, so it is a good thing to agree this multiple launch deal with SaxaVord.
“The UK is a world leader in space technology, and this latest step brings us another important step closer to delivering an important space service from our soil,” Leviken added.
The rocket company carried out the UK’s first static ground-based test firing for half a century at the Kildermorie Estate near Alness in the Highlands in May, the UK’s first vertical test of this scale since the Black Arrow program 50 years ago.
Late last year trials of the Skyrora XL’s third stage, which includes an Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) that can restart its engines about 15 times in orbit, were completed late last year.
The OTV can complete tasks such as serving as a space trailer or maintaining or de-spinning old satellites, and it will be used to process the growing volume of space debris orbiting Earth.
The company plans to fuel the Skyrora XL rocket with ecofuel, its more sustainable alternative to rocket fuel made from waste plastics such as polystyrene.
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