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Satellite launch operator Skyrora chooses Cornwall for first rocket engine test
Launch operator Skyrora has announced that it will begin its engine testing programme at Cornwall Airport Newquay’s rocket test facility in Q4 this year. The site will be an operational Spaceport by 2021.
The event is expected to
be the first liquid engine test by a British small-satellite launcher to take
place in the UK since Black Arrow around 50 years ago.
The announcement was made
at the Farnborough International Airshow. Edinburgh-based Skyrora selected
Cornwall after considering alternative facilities across Europe. The company
aims to capture a share of the fast-growing small satellite launch market and
has already manufactured two completely different engines for testing at
separate locations this year, allowing them to move at pace as they work
towards their first test launch.
Skyrora will carry out a
series of test firings at Newquay for their “LEO” engine, which will eventually
be used to propel their satellite launch vehicle’s upper stage. They will
utilise a hardened aircraft shelter which was previously used by the Bloodhound
Super Sonic Car project for rocket tests in preparation for a world land speed
record attempt next year.
Skyrora’s deployment at Cornwall
Airport Newquay is being supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local
Enterprise Partnership (LEP), through its Enterprise Zone Infrastructure Fund.
Daniel Smith, Director of
Business Development at Skyrora, said: “Newquay is a great fit for us because of the
enthusiasm and support from the team, combined with the immediate availability
of the facility, providing us with a perfect short-term solution while we work
towards establishing our own strategic capability north of the border for our
Mark Duddridge, Chairman
of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “Our recently published outlines how we intend
to build a £1 billion space economy by 2030, so we are delighted to welcome
Skyrora to Cornwall where we are laying the foundations for tomorrow’s global
The Airport’s rocket test facility is seen as a critical piece of infrastructure for Spaceport Cornwall which is planning to be the UK’s first horizontal launch spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay, operational by 2021.
Al Titterington, Managing Director of
Cornwall Airport Newquay, said: “It’s
exciting to be involved in another project that demonstrates the capabilities
of the Airport, which go far beyond air passenger services.”
Cornwall Director Miles Carden added: “This partnership
demonstrates the collaborative culture throughout the UK space sector to offer
a world class satellite launch environment from research to design, test,
launch and tracking.”
partnership with Cornwall includes a series of education and public outreach
events to inspire the next generation of space engineers and entrepreneurs in
Cornwall, a key deliverable for the Spaceport Cornwall project.
interested in testing at Cornwall Airport Newquay can find out more by visiting
the Spaceport Cornwall stand at Farnborough International Air Show (Hall 1
Stand 1350), or by emailing Ross Hulbert, Business Engagement Manager, Invest