Skyrora’s Scots rocket plant space sector boost
Rocket company Skyrora has opened a manufacturing and production centre in Scotland, the largest of its kind in the UK as the company consolidates its UK-based capabilities.
The factory in Cumbernauld, which has begun work on the first two of up to 16 vehicles, follows the development of an engine test facility in Midlothian.
The site boasts unique capabilities for space infrastructure in the UK, as certain tests that would typically be outsourced to facilities in other countries can now be conducted domestically, saving significant time and costs.
As such, the maiden testing of the second stage of the Skyrora XL rocket can now be performed from UK soil, having been fully manufactured and assembled in-house.
This includes the assembly of the 70kN engine, the most powerful commercially produced liquid engine in the UK, which has been built using 3D-printed engine components.
Skyrora’s head of engineering, Dr Jack James Marlow, said: “This purpose-built manufacturing and assembly site, combined with the Midlothian testing facility, allows Skyrora to take direct charge of the development cycle in-house.”
Skyrora founder and CEO Volodymyr Levykin said: “We’re proud to be leading the way for the UK space sector, promoting further STEM job creation that will be vital to the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
“There is an enormous commercial opportunity to be seized here, and a chance for the UK to play a key strategic role in the new space economy.
“However, in order to do this, investment is needed at the highest level of Government to support the efforts of private companies, otherwise we risk missing the chance to future-proof the British economy and letting talent slip through our fingers.”
Ian Annett, deputy CEO, UK Space Agency said: “As we approach the UK’s first commercial space launch this summer, Skyrora’s new manufacturing and production facility in Cumbernauld will further enhance the UK’s reputation as Europe’s most attractive destination for launch activities.
“Scotland is home to around one-fifth of all space jobs in the UK and, by harnessing the opportunities provided by commercial spaceflight, we are creating highly skilled jobs and local opportunities in Scotland and across the country.”