Skyrora will design its lightweight rocket in a year12th Apr 2020
Scottish private space company, Skyrora is actively working on several promising launch vehicle projects.
Successful launches of suborbital test vehicles have already been completed. Now, the company is designing light-class vehicles for launching small satellites to SSO and LEO.
Skylark Nano, a two-meter vehicle running on solid fuel, was already launched in 2019. The second subsequent launch was also successful. But those were primarily just tests, presumably to test avionics etc.
Soon, the company intends to launch its Skylark L, Skyrora L, and XL vehicles. And, while Skylark L is also just a launch testing tool, Skyrora L and XL will be able to send payloads into orbit.
Right now, the company is waiting for the UK government as several legislative matters need to be approved to make such activities fully legal. By that time, the company expects to have manufactured its vehicles and have them ready for launch.
What is Skyrora XL?
This is a three-stage rocket designed to lift payload into a sun-synchronous orbit. The model is currently under development.
- number of stages: 3;
- height: 24 metres;
- payload capacity: up to 315 kg;
- orbit height: 500km.
The first stage will have nine engines, whereas the second and third stages will both run on separate, independent engines. The third stage engine is the most difficult part of development.
For the satellites to reach their required orbits, this engine will have to be restarted several times.
All engines are made using 3D printing. Even now, this technology has brought successful results – the first engine has already passed its live tests. This engine runs on their Ecoscene fuel made from recycled plastic and traditional RP-1 rocket fuel.
However, there is one stumbling block. At the moment, no 3D printer can print an entire engine model. That is why the company is forced to print the additional components and assemble them later.
As of today, Skyrora plans to make its first launch in 2022.