UK Inches Closer to Launching the First Rocket from British Soil, in a Historic First

The Midlothian site in Scotland is where Skyrora tests the engines of its rockets 6 photos
Photo: Skyrora
Skyrora XL RocketMidlothian SiteMidlothian SiteMidlothian SiteSkyrora XL Rocket
In 1971, the UK conducted its first and only successful orbital launch, using the Black Arrow, but from Australian soil. Now, the country is ready to not only start launching rockets again but to do so from its own soil for the first time in history. To achieve that goal, its largest rocket engine testing facility just opened in Scotland.
Midlothian, Scotland, is the new home of a state-of-the-art facility for rocket engine testing. This is where Skyrora is putting the finishing touches on its three-stage orbital vehicle, the Skyrora XL, which could become the first rocket launched from UK soil no later than this year.

Covering an area the size of two football fields, the new facility is where a team of 20 engineers will be spearheading rocket launch technology in the UK. The new test stand was completed in less than eight months and will use local rainfall as part of its cooling systems. The Midlothian facility itself was completed in just six months after commissioning and was partially supported by a grant from the European Space Agency (ESA).

At the moment, the new facility will be mainly used for conducting tests for the Skyrora XL’s engines. That’s because Skyrora plans to become the first British company to launch a rocket from UK soil later this year. The 75.4-foot (32 meters) rocket will be equipped with nine bi-propellant engines that use liquid oxygen and kerosene, cutting half of the carbon emissions of conventional rocket engines.

Having a domestic rocket engine testing facility is crucial for a national space industry that wants to become one of the most prominent in the world. Instead of having to rely on third-party facilities, rocket engine manufacturers can test their products locally at lower costs. This is also better for the environment, as it cuts the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of the engines to other countries for testing.

Skyrora’s new facility is currently the largest one in the UK and, by the end of the year, it might mark a place in history as the place where the first rocket to be launched from British soil was tested.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release
About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories