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Space: UK and US bolster Special Relationship with British rocket facility visit | Science | News


During his visit to Skyrora’s rocket facility in Cumbernauld, Scotland, General Raymond was in a position to witness the UK’s burgeoning launch industry capabilities first hand. The factory — the most important of its kind within the UK — currently has three launch vehicles under production. It also comprises the most important hybrid 3D printer in Europe, “Skyprint 2”, which allows Skyrora to fabricate more of its rocket parts here within the UK.

Alongside being probably the most senior military leader answerable for the US Space Force, General Raymond also serves as a military advisor to the US President, Secretary of Defence and the National Security Council.

General Raymond said: “Now, greater than ever, international cooperation in space is critically vital.

“The proliferation of economic space efforts helps all spacefaring nations by driving costs down.

“I appreciate the unbelievable tour of the Skyrora facilities and the chance to spend time with the impressive team there.”

Skyrora Chief Operations Officer Lee Rosen said: “General Raymond’s visit on behalf of the US Space Force has been a precious opportunity to offer insight into Skyrora’s rapid, responsive technical capabilities.”

Such features, he explained, include a mobile launch complex and third-stage rocket technology.

Mr Rosen added: “[These] can contribute to several key space applications, including in-orbit spacecraft servicing and space domain awareness.

“These, combined with Skyrora’s sustainability-minded focus, will enable key defence activities inside space for the advantage of all.”

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The General’s visit follows within the wake of Skyrora’s successful second state static fire engine test for its orbital launch vehicle.

This three-stage-to-orbit craft — the Skyrora XL — is anticipated to take its maiden flight from UK soil sometime next 12 months.

This may give the UK sovereign vertical launch capabilities for the primary time — a capability the Government recently identified as vital to positioning the domestic defence sector as a world actor within the space domain.

Previously, the UK has relied on US launch capabilities to service the nation’s defence sector.

Based on Skyrora, the end result of the second stage test was “one in every of the important thing momentum-building milestones discussed throughout the visit”.

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Skyrora CEO Volodymyr Levykin said: “This visit comes at a pivotal time as we come to learn the importance of sovereign launch from the primary industrial space war in Ukraine.

“Skyrora looks forward to working with the UK Government to further this alliance and achieve greater levels of investment and support for the UK space sector.”

At present, the space sector is value greater than £16.4billion per 12 months to the UK economy — a figure that is just expected to grow, with the worldwide space economy expected to be value around £490billion come 2030.

Skyrora, Mr Levykin said, will proceed its “laser give attention to being the primary UK company to conduct a vertical launch to orbit from British soil.”

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