Skyrora acquires launch vehicle project

Edinburgh-based space company Skyrora is teaming up with an acclaimed rocket engineer to create the UK's first wholly private space launch.

The team at Skyrora have completed the acquisition of the FARISpace launch vehicle project, led by acclaimed engineer Richard Brown. Picture: Contributed

Skyrora has completed the acquisition of the FARISpace launch vehicle project, led by acclaimed Oxford-based rocket engineer Richard Brown.

The project has been reconfigured, under the name “SkyHy”, to carry a larger payload and it will extend Skyrora’s portfolio with a two-stage hydrogen peroxide hybrid rocket which is built and ready to launch.

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Should the vehicle blast off from UK soil, it would be the highest commercial launch to take place as part of the new space race, building upon the success of the company’s inaugural test launch in the summer.

In August, Skyrora conducted the first commercial rocket launch in Scotland with Skylark Nano, as it trialled technology for use on full-scale vehicles.

Daniel Smith, director at Skyrora, said: “The chance to acquire this ingenious technology was ideal for us, as it blends seamlessly into our overall strategy as the fastest and most cost-effective way to gain practical experience of suborbital launches with a non-guided rocket, while testing the peroxide propellant that we’re already distilling here in the UK.”

Smith said he is “delighted” to be working with Brown, who has a strong record of success with ambitious rocket and jet-related projects, and he is “excited to utilise [Brown’s] design in the next stage of our company’s development”.

He added: “SkyHy is capable of near-space flight and can reach around 100km altitude, providing a valuable test case for us. We’ve opened discussions to launch from the UK, but we’re not ruling out an international launch for this one if it cuts out delays.

“The key factors for us will always be safety, cost-effectiveness and a swift, responsive time to launch.”