Skyrora & Spirit AeroSystems Forge UK Partnership in Rocket Manufacturing

22nd Nov 2023
Skyrora & Spirit AeroSystems Forge UK Partnership in Rocket Manufacturing

Skyrora and Spirit AeroSystems have unveiled a significant collaboration to enhance UK orbital launch capability. Edinborough-based launch startup Skyrora is partnering with Spirit AeroSystems of Prestwick in a collaboration that will grant Spirit access to Skyprint 2, the state-of-the-art hybrid 3D printer employed by Skyrora for additive manufacturing engines.

With the partnership, Skyrora strengthens its ambition to be the UK’s first vertical satellite launcher and conduct up to 16 launches annually at scale.

Skyrora and Spirit AeroSystems have announced a collaboration on orbital launch capability.
Credit: Skyrora
On the photo: Volodymyr Levykin, Nick Laird, David Morris, and Matt Archer.

“This alliance is a real testament to Skyrora’s strides and continues to make towards our mission of being the first British company to launch from UK soil. It will allow us to renew our focus on localising our supply chain as much as possible, a key part of our mission to create a responsible and sustainable approach to orbital launch,” said Volodymyr Levykin, CEO and Founder of Skyrora.

“By collaborating with innovative partners like Spirit, Skyrora can access manufacturing and testing capacity right here in the UK. Historically, space has not been an environmentally friendly industry, but we are committed to being a responsible player that continues to foster talent and skills nationally as the ambitious new space economy goes from strength to strength,” Mr Levykin added.

Skyrora XL as Europe’s primary orbital rocket

A leading player in the growing European launch startup world, Scotland’s Skyrora has raised €38M+ ($41.6M+) to support the development of its Skyrora XL orbital rocket and two suborbital rockets.

Spirit AeroSystems brings substantial manufacturing and testing expertise that will augment Skyrora’s orbital launch endeavours. Sir Michael J Ryan, Spirit’s Vice President, underscores their role in industrializing Skyrora’s future production, aligning with the UK Government’s ambition to lead European small satellite launches by 2030, creating skilled jobs and fostering growth nationwide.

Europe faces a void in domestic launch capability following the retirement of the Ariane 5 rocket in July. Skyrora stands alongside a select group of European launch startups vying to fill this gap, aligning with the priority set by Josef Aschbacher, head of the European Space Agency (ESA), who urged action in response to the launcher crisis earlier this year. Aschbacher underlined the urgency in his blog post, stating, “If Europe is to become once again a key participant in the new race to exploration, leading in several domains and ensuring enhanced strategic autonomy, then the time to decide and to act is now.

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