Are Skyrora mission-ready & financially sound?31st Jan 2024
The Edinburgh-based rocket manufacturer, Skyrora, appear to be one of the few companies in the UK’s space race that has been active in updating the public with progress, with frequent videos and news releases put out to the public domain. Now, whilst this is the case, most of those videos are of engine tests, so we don’t know where they are at with their final rocket production.
The Saxa Vord Spaceport on the Shetland Isles has recently announced that they’ve been granted all necessary operational licences and could potentially be launching in 2024, so there is now an added time pressure on Skyrora, as they will be launching from there.
As is our reporting method, we had a look through the Skyrora accounts to seek out any red flags we might find, or signs of cash flow issues. We’re happy to report that not only are the online accounts in good order, they also appear to be audited, so there was nothing to make us think that any financial barriers are in the way. We will therefore keep an eye out for any production and operational updates.
Skyrora have multiple production facilities across Scotland including a factory in Cumbernauld. We are also aware that they have production facilities in Ukraine, but suspect that for obvious reasons they don’t release much info on those.
Saxa Vord launch competition
There are other rocket production companies poised to launch from Saxa Vord including ABL Systems, which has Lockheed Martin amongst its shareholders. In fact, it gets interesting when you consider that Lockheed Martin were awarded a £23.5m grant back in 2018 to help the UK launch its new space programme (a grant that was then tied to the Sutherland Spaceport), which will now presumably be used to help with launch plans at Saxa Vord instead. So, Lockheed always had the need for a launch provider to fulfil that obligation and what better approach than using a company that they are heavily invested in.
Whatever the outcome and whoever is first to launch, these launch companies and the Shetland launch site are standing out in the crowd as the most likely to lead the way.