Space rocket company opens test complex in Fife

A Scottish space rocket company is to open a new engine test complex in Fife, in a move that aims to create 170 new jobs.
The facility in FifeThe facility in Fife
The facility in Fife

Skyrora has established the complex, where it already has successfully tested its 3.5kN engine and three-tonne engine for its sub-orbital and orbital rockets.

The company expects the complex to help the company create over 170 new jobs in the area by 2030.

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Skyrora’s engine test complex layout is fairly minimal, mainly consisting of a fuel and oxidiser loading system to put fuel into both tanks and a pressure supply system to feed the fuel to the engine in the test stand. Skyrora also built the actual test stand, the road to access the test site and the concrete slab for the test site to sit on. It took the team only a few weeks to build it, at a fraction of the estimated time and cost while making sure all measures followed health and safety guidelines.

Skyrora is a private launch vehicle company. It is headquartered in Loanhead, Midlothian. The company aims to cater for the growing demand to send commercial satellites into space using a combination of proven technology, advanced manufacturing and detailed knowledge. It is in the process of developing cost-effective vehicles that will launch from a UK spaceport by 2023.

Volodymyr Levykin, chief executive officer of Skyrora, said: “The opening of our engine test complex represents a giant leap forward for the UK’s ambitions as a space nation and Scotland’s status as a space hub.

"The location and additional jobs will benefit the UK space industry and help the overall economy grow.

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"It will also allow Skyrora’s highly skilled workforce and a young generation of engineers and technicians to be a part of this space revolution.

"Skyrora has developed and come so far as a team and a company, and I am really proud to see how many milestones we have achieved in a short period of time.”

Dr Jack-James Marlow, Engineering Manager at Skyrora, who oversaw the testing, said: “Our engine test complex is a fantastic opportunity for Skyrora and the UK Space industry.

Scotland is heading towards an unprecedented growth in UK space and our complex is one step closer to achieving this.

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"We are planning to test all our engines, which are fully 3D printed and operate on high-test peroxide (HTP, a highly concentrated solution of hydrogen peroxide), at the site.

"Our recent successful testing of the three-tonne engine is nearly ten times greater in thrust than our last series of engine tests on our LEO engine. We pushed the engine to its limits to find its operational envelope and critical parameters. The engine performed as expected and has enabled us to begin small volume production of the engine”.

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