The Skyrora rocket's second stage static fire test has been completed
The Skyrora XL rocket's second stage completed a static fire test, marking a new milestone for the U.K. launch company. As a result of the 20-second burn, Skyrora is one step closer to launching its first orbital rocket in late 2023.
Sykora is one of several small launch companies based in the United Kingdom and Europe hoping to capture a share of the nation's growing commercial space market. Sykora executive Lee Rosen, who spent 23 years in the Air Force and an 11-year stint at SpaceX, said this test was unique.
“Although others might show their factory or try an engine test, I think the fact that we got the integrated system solution test speaks volumes,” he said. The Skyrora XL rocket consists of three stages, with nine engines powering the first stage and one engine powering the second. In the third stage, a smaller engine is used. In terms of payload capacity, it is comparable to Rocket Lab's Electron in its ability to launch around 315 kilograms into sun-synchronous and polar orbits about 500-1,000 kilometers above the planet. The Skyrora vehicle is designed to be reusable, while Rocket Lab never intended to reuse the Electron booster stage.
Sykora is looking for ways to differentiate itself from its competitors, Rosen said, regardless of whether it successfully launches an orbital rocket. In order to accomplish this, Skyrora is developing its third stage so that it can not only deliver a satellite to the final orbit but can also refuel and service satellites already in orbit or remove space debris. A greener fuel called Ecosene, made from non-recyclable plastics is also being developed by the company, which could entice governments to look for greener technologies in the future.
In addition to the U.K. Agency for Space Research, the European Space Agency, and the British Airports Authority. In spite of that support, the commercial launch industry will only go so far. In the U.K. Space Strategy, the ultimate goal is to own 10% of the world's space market by 2030", he explained. In order to achieve this, they must not only offer moral support, but also some funding support."
In fact, nearly every major rocket company operating today relies on government contracts for its success. It's certainly true for SpaceX, which received hundreds of millions from NASA in order to develop Falcon 9.
The company has also been able to garner contracts from government and defense customers, including the National Reconnaissance Office. It has received some funding so far, including a €3 million contract from ESA's Boost! The rocket engine qualification program. The company, however, looks forward to competing for more launches and other missions in the future.
In Scotland, Machrihanish Airbase conducted a static fire test of the second stage. A static fire was conducted within 72 hours, part of the company's model to test and launch quickly from anywhere in the world. The first stage of Skyrora's orbital rocket will be tested around the middle of next year before the first orbital launch."It's not about bragging about what you might do," Rosen said. "It's all about doing.". The second-stage test is a great way to show what you know.