Edinburgh-based Skyrora (www.skyrora.com
), which aims to establish itself as a leading provider of orbital launch services for small satellite operators, is in the process of selecting launch locations for its next three engine tests.
The company has invited international spaceport operators — including all potential UK spaceport locations — to submit their proposals to launch any of its three rockets.
Following the successful Skylark Nano launch last year, the Skylark Micro II, SkyHy and SK-1 vehicles are all set to be launched in the next 12 months — with two of the rockets already built and assembled in Britain.
These sub-orbital flights will only need a simple launch pad with minimal infrastructure, allowing Skyrora to gather valuable data and reduce the risk factors.
CEO Volodymyr Levykin said: “We are growing and moving rapidly on all sides of the business to offer an attractive service to our customers, 15 of whom have already declared their interest by signing letters of intent.
"We are making particularly good progress with our test-vehicle missions, which run in parallel to our main orbital-vehicle development.
"Each incremental step will provide us with a brand new challenge, advancing from simple solid motors to more-complex vehicles with technologically advanced propulsion systems, as well as testing health-and-safety procedures and ground control systems.”
The first vehicle, set for a 40km sub-orbital trajectory test this month, will be the two-stage Skylark Micro II. This unguided rocket using solid-fuel rocket motors is designed to develop and de-risk the technologies involved and evaluate avionics and ground system telemetry.
The second and third rockets — SkyHy (Skyrora Hybrid) and SK-1 — are scheduled to be launched in the second half of the year.
They will be capable of crossing the Kármán line into space — something that no private company has done from UK soil before.