Edinburgh-based rocket firm Skyrora accelerating ambitions with hire of former SpaceX exec

Edinburgh-headquartered rocket company Skyrora has appointed an ex-US military, former senior executive at Elon Musk-founded firm SpaceX to a key senior role.

The Scottish organisation, whose aims include becoming the leading launch provider operating in the UK, has signed up Lee Rosen to be its chief operations officer.

He spent 23 years in the US Air Force, and was subsequently vice president of mission and launch operations and customer operations and integration at US space manufacturer SpaceX, where he spent a decade and was a veteran of more than 150 missions.

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Skyrora said his arrival comes as it seeks to conduct 16 launches a year from the Saxavord launch complex in Shetland alone by 2030.

He said: “With Skyrora leading the way in UK launch and building infrastructure for the future of the UK’s space economy, it’s an exciting time to join the company. Currently, the UK is completely reliant on the US and, although this is a crucial relationship, Skyrora is building towards a future when space capabilities in this country will allow for regular sovereign launches.

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“Space capability is now critical to providing an edge when it comes to defence. Skyrora’s mobile, agile and responsive launch and on-orbit capability can provide the UK with something it has been missing and bolster its special relationship with the US,” he added, also flagging the firm’s “responsible and sustainable attitude towards spaceflight”.

Skyrora founder and chief executive Volodymyr Levykin said: “We’re delighted that Lee has joined Skyrora and offering his unparalleled leadership and expertise to the team as we continue to hit crucial milestones in our push towards a maiden launch from UK soil.”

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Mr Rosen with 44th US President Barack Obama and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Picture: Nasa/Bill Ingalls.
Skyrora says Mr Rosen's 'extensive' operational expertise will help accelerate its journey towards a maiden launch from UK soil. Picture: contributed.

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