UK space missions to blast off from far-flung Scottish spaceport


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An agreement has been reached that could see rockets blasting off to space from a UK-based spaceport in a couple of years’ time.

Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora has announced it will partner with SaxaVord Spaceport, located in the Shetland Islands.

Starting in 2022, Skyrora says it hopes to reach up to 16 launches per year over a ten-year stretch.

It will be the first time a rocket has lifted off to space from British soil.

The spaceport sits near RAF Saxa Vord on Unst, the most northern island in the archipelago.

SaxaVord UK Spaceport (SaxaVord)

Skyrora founder and chief executive, Volodymyr Levykin, said: ‘We have made no secret of our ambition to be the first company to launch from UK soil so it’s really exciting to agree to this multi-launch deal with SaxaVord.

‘We are proud to be at the forefront of space innovation in the UK, deploying our assets and helping to unlock exciting opportunities as part of the new space economy.’

Last year, the company completed a successful ground rocket test of its Skylark L rocket.

However, it is the 56-tonne ‘XL’ rocket that the company hopes to launch into space. It will be capable of delivering satellites into orbit and the company hopes its mission will create up to 140 jobs locally.

The launch of the two metre Skylark Nano rocket, which reached an altitude of six kilometres, from Fethaland Peninsula on the Mainland of Shetland. (Skyrora / SWNS.COM)

‘The UK is a world leader in space technology, and this latest move brings us another crucial step closer to offering a significant space service from our own soil,’ Levykin said.

Frank Strang, CEO of SaxaVord Spaceport, added: ‘As we look forward to launches from Unst next year, this is yet another exciting development and we look forward to working with the Skyrora team to help them meet their goal of delivering their XL rocket into orbit.

‘The SaxaVord Spaceport location and the can-do attitude of our team mean we are perfectly placed to support Skyrora’s endeavours.’

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