Skyrora’s Levykin Talks Investment and Sustainable Launch at WebSummit 20228th Nov 2022
Skyrora CEO Volodymyr Levykin spoke at WebSummit 2022 regarding the future of launch and investment in space. Edinburgh based Skyrora is preparing for orbital launches from rockets utilizing its ecologically sustainable fuel, called Ecosene.
The increase in investment, Levykin claimed, is part of a move by investors who had been investing in software. “I’m originally from IT … and it became visible that more and more investors from [Silicon Valley] started to invest in space. For some of them, it became obvious that space is the next big thing, the biggest thing you can ever imagine. And now, it’s even more obvious,” he said.
In Levykin’s eyes, pioneers such as Elon Musk proved the concept of commercial space launch and established the overall business case. “They’re completely dominating the market, but they’re inspiring, they’re showing that there is a future market. And we believe that we can bring something new to it.”
Sustainable launch, Skyrora style
While SpaceX showed how to make launch more affordable, Levykin says that Skyrora is set on making launch more sustainable. Taking a page from the UK’s Black Arrow programme of the 1960s, Skyrora uses hyrdogen peroxide instead of liquid oxygen. “It’s not cyrogenic, it can be stored in just plastic containers … We don’t need the extra energy to cool down.”
As for fuel, the company uses it’s own fuel called Ecosene. This fuel is unique in that it is derived from converting unrecyclable plastic waste into rocket-grade kerosene.
Levykin and the future of space
For Levykin, the diversification and commercialisation of space are prerequisites for the development of the industry. Once that happens, things such as asteroid mining become possible. “…how to get revenue, real revenue out of space. I hold that Elon Musk’s Starlink will show this example.” In his view, as such companies become more developed, investor appetite and understanding will grow, as will competition and use.
Commercialisation must be a driver, though, for it to work. He compared the possibilities, under commercialisation, to the phenomenon of WebSummit itself. “I was here ten years ago, and it was 200 people. Now, without any push from the government, there’s 70,000 people.”