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UK Moves Significant Step Closer to Commercial Spaceflight

By | May 25, 2021

Photo: UK Space Agency

The United Kingdom has taken a major step forward with its space ambitions as commercial spaceflight from the U.K. moves a significant step nearer. The U.K. government has confirmed that spaceports in the U.K. can be used in summer 2022, which is big news for the U.K. space sector. Developed with the UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority, new regulations were laid out in the Parliament yesterday which will mean satellites and rockets can launch from U.K. soil for the first time – with spaceports planned for Cornwall, Wales and Scotland.

“This is a pivotal moment for our spaceflight ambitions. Since the start of the spaceflight program in 2017, we have been clear that we want to be the first country to launch into orbit from Europe. The laying of these regulations puts us firmly on track to see the first U.K. launches take place from 2022, unlocking a new era in commercial spaceflight for all four corners of our nation,” U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.

Skyrora CEO, Volodymyr Levykin also hailed the news. He talked about how the U.K. has a long heritage in rocket engineering, from Black Arrow 50 years ago, to the talent spread across the globe today working in space organizations and private companies. He believes with the steps taken today and different spaceports being developed, the U.K. has an opportunity to bring much of that talent back home and inspire the next generation.

“As an Edinburgh-based company, Skyrora is proud to be helping new generations of engineers gain vital, practical experience on launch vehicles to help shape the future of commercial space,” Levykin added. Our Skyrora XL three-stage rocket is on track to be ready for launch in 2022, along with our space tug — which can play a pivotal role in efforts to clear space debris and we’re proud that we’ll be ready to offer these capabilities from U.K. soil.”