Edinburgh-based Skyrora successfully completes Shetland’s first rocket launch

Scotland has lift off in the ‘space race’ after a rocket was successfully launched for the first time from Britain's most northerly islands.

Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:50 pm
Updated Monday, 15th June 2020, 3:50 pm

Edinburgh-based rocket firm Skyrora launched the two metre Skylark Nano rocket – which reached an altitude of six kilometres – from Fethaland Peninsula on the mainland of Shetland.

Skyrora, which hopes to operate from one of the three proposed spaceports in Scotland, carried out the suborbital launch on Saturday (June 13).

Launching commercial rockets from Shetland in the future is a potential option.

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On Saturday, Shetland’s first ever suborbital rocket launch was successfully conducted.

The launch was completed for educational purposes, including collecting meteorological data, measuring wind profiles, analysing the vehicles trajectory and providing critical training in support of Skyrora's future plans.

It comes after Skyrora successfully completed a full static fire test on their Skylark-L launch vehicle last month.

Skylark Nano's first launch took place in Ross-shire, Scottish Highlands in summer 2018.

Skyrora, which hopes to make the UK a 'rocket launching nation', is developing launch vehicle technology, with the aim of reducing launch costs, and looking to create 170 jobs by the end of 2023.

Robin Hague, head of the launch, 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.

"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.

"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."

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