Skyrora Applies For A SaxaVord Launch Operator Licence

5th Jul 2024
Skyrora Applies For A SaxaVord Launch Operator Licence

Skyrora is applying for a launch operator license for launches from SaxaVord Spaceport, in the Shetland Islands. As part of the application process, they have submitted an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE), which is now open for consultation. A SaxaVord launch operator license would be the third such license issued, after Virgin Orbit for horizontal launch, and HyImpulse for vertical launch, from the UK. However, Skyrora’s roots in the UK run much deeper than the other two, and in some ways, the SaxaVord launch operator license would be a first for a UK-headquartered company.

“For spaceport and launch operator licenses, we must take into account the impact on the environment and proposed measures to reduce significant environmental effects,” the Civil Aviation Authority commented on LinkedIn.

Why Is This License Needed?

To conduct spaceflight operations at the UK spaceport, launch operators must obtain licensing from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Spaceports and launch operators must provide an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) when applying for their license. This assessment ensures that they’ve considered how their activities might affect the environment. If needed, they must plan to prevent, reduce, or counter any risks or effects on the environment.

The consultation document detailing Skyrora’s AEE is here.

Before recommending approval for spaceport and launch operator licenses, the CAA evaluates the applicant’s assessments and proposed measures to lessen any major environmental impacts.

Skyrora’s Proposal For SaxaVord Spaceport Launches

Skyrora proposes to conduct up to 16 launches annually from SaxaVord Spaceport on Unst, Shetland Islands, all heading northward over the sea. The launch system, detailed in the AEE, includes the Skyrora Skylark L, an approximately 11.6-meter-long guided suborbital launch vehicle powered by a single bi-liquid propellant engine.

Skylark L rocket
Skylark L rocket. Credit: Skyrora

Additionally, the Skyrora XL, a three-stage liquid-fueled orbital launch vehicle about 24 meters long and 2.2 meters in diameter, is designed to place customer payloads into sun-synchronous or polar orbits.

Skylark XL rocket
Skylark XL rocket. Credit: Skyrora

Skyrora LTD

Skyrora is a UK-based aerospace company specializing in the development of satellite launch vehicles. The company focuses on creating cost-effective and environmentally responsible solutions for accessing space.

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