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Tug initiative

Rocket firm Skyrora ready to help clear junk from space

Skyrora testing a rocket in Fife

Scottish rocket development company Skyrora is expected to play a key role in removing junk from space.

It believes its Orbit Transfer Vehicle – part of its Skyrora XL rocket due to launch in 2023 – could clear debris, reposition satellites and remove defunct satellites from orbit.

There are around 34,000 objects above 10cm in size in Earth’s orbit that would be considered space junk – 3,000 of which are redundant satellites.

In the week that the UK and UN signed a historical agreement on space sustainability, the Edinburgh-headquartered firm has thrown its support behind the initiative.

Skyrora said its “space tug” is one of many initiatives that could help the UK Government meet sustainability goals under the new directive.

Chief executive Volodymyr Levykin said: “Our goal was always to be mission-ready once all the regulations and permissions were in place, and this development (the directive) not only brings us closer to that point but also takes us beyond simply launch readiness.

“It’s important to show that even in these challenging times we are still a nation that continues to innovate and take the lead in some of our most lofty ambitions.”

The company has been carrying out tests at its engine development facility in Fife.

It is now believed this provides for a full mission-ready Orbital Transfer Vehicle that can perform a number of in-space missions.

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