A small launch startup based in Edinburgh has become the first in the United Kingdom to complete a “ground rocket test” in almost 50 years. The last natively-developed rocket of this scale capable of reaching space was the Black Arrow, which flew its final flight on October 28, 1971.
Skyrora completed a full static fire test of its Skylark L at Kildemorie Estate in North Scotland. The launch provider made use of a “mobile launch complex” that was shipped to the location in modules and built out over several days.
The Skylark L is a suborbital launch vehicle that stands just over 10 meters in length. The single-stage HTP/Kerosene-powered rocket is capable of reaching an altitude of 102 kilometers carrying a payload of up to 60 kilograms.
With a successful static fire test complete, Skyrora has confirmed the Skylark L is ready for its maiden flight which is currently scheduled for 2021.
“This is the first time a launch vehicle of this magnitude has been tested in the UK for many years and I am very proud of my team for achieving this,” said Skyrora Engineering Manager Dr. Jack-James Marlow. “The vehicle is now ready for flight and we are one step closer to putting the UK back into space.”
As the company’s suborbital Skylark L vehicle is prepared for its maiden flight, Skyrora is already proceeding with the development of a larger launch vehicle. The Skylark Xl is a three-stage rocket that is expected to stand at just over 24 meters tall. It will be capable of carrying up to 315 kilograms into low Earth orbit. Skyrora hopes to launch the maiden Skylark XL in 2023.