Quarter 4, 2021
A Letter From Our CEO
Fourth and Final Quarter of 2021: A Year in Review
Upon contemplation of the busy year behind us, it is promising to review Skyrora’s immense progress, which will act as a catalyst for placing us into orbit by 2023. This year has seen a myriad of notable achievements for the company, with this quarter being no exception, and we are delighted to report that our journey to realising sovereign launch capabilities within the UK remains well on track.
In the long-term, our mission to launch the first orbital vehicle from the UK has been supported by the signing of a multi-launch agreement with SaxaVord Spaceport on the northernmost island of Unst in Shetland. This collaboration will enable Skyrora’s target of conducting 16 launches per year by 2030 using our sustainable technologies, such as our Ecosene fuel and Space Tug, to become a reality. Beyond this target, the agreement will localise the launch supply chain to eschew the negative environmental consequences associated with launching abroad, as well as positioning the UK as a prominent global launch provider. I am incredibly optimistic about this agreement and look forward to working with SaxaVord over the next decade to implement an environmental launch!
To further our utmost commitment to space sustainability, Skyrora also demonstrated thought leadership through our attendance at COP26, which was held in Glasgow this year. Although the conference drew to a close in November, Skyrora is only just beginning our journey to transforming the UK space sector through innovation-driven climate actions. Indeed, Skyrora strives to engrain sustainability into all aspects of our business and technical practices. We do not take our role in reaching net zero by 2050 lightly and, going into 2022, we fully recognize the importance of cleaning up space. Keep an eye out next year for further developments of our Ecosene fuel, which is derived from unrecyclable plastics, as well as our orbital transfer vehicle, which has been designed to deorbit detrimental space junk.
Our work in space sustainability would not be possible without the support of key government and industry representatives. This quarter has hosted facility and business headquarters visits from Dr. Paul Bates, CEO of the UK Space Agency, as well as individuals from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Additionally, our team was inspired by a recent visit from esteemed Skyrora Advisor and ESA Astronaut Tim Peake, which has further motivated us to reach orbit by 2023.
In conjunction with stakeholder support, realising our orbital vision also requires a strong internal team dedicated to furthering the company’s rapid technological development. Over the past quarter, Skyrora has selected six new hires from a diversity of engineering and aerospace backgrounds to our team after hosting an assessment day that received over 1,000 applications. It is exciting to see this vast interest in Skyrora from so many highly skilled individuals, and this passion for the space workforce will guide the growth of our team next year as we approach the orbital launch!
2022 will be Skyrora’s biggest year yet, and we owe our astounding present and future success to every individual staff member, stakeholder, and member of the community supporting our mission. I would like to extend an immense thank you to the vibrant Skyrora team I work with every day, as well as the organisations who support us by championing the New Space industry, including the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, Scottish Enterprise, DiT, and DFT.
I wish everyone a happy, safe, and restful holiday season and look forward to sharing next year’s monumental achievements with you as we approach the launch.
CEO Skyrora Limited
Skyrora Agrees a Multi-Launch Deal with Saxavord Spaceport in Shetland for the Next Decade
We are delighted to have signed a multi-launch agreement to launch our orbital vehicle, Skyrora XL, from Saxavord Spaceport on the northernmost Shetland Island of Unst by 2023. Not only will this agreement enable Skyrora to meet our goal of launching the first ever orbital rocket from British soil, but it will also allow us to make our target of conducting 16 launches per year by 2030 a reality, promoting sustainable space technologies such as our Ecosene fuel, orbital transfer vehicle, and mobile launch complex in the process.
Within the wider Scottish space sector, this launch agreement will promote further local development to increase employment opportunities. It will also localize the launch supply chain to yield environmental benefits that are typically unattainable in launches conducted abroad. With the help of Saxavord Spaceport, Skyrora aims to further support UK launch by creating over 170 jobs by 2030. Ultimately, this agreement marks a triumphant turning point for both Skyrora and the wider Scottish space industry.
The news of Skyrora’s multi-launch deal shortly followed the release of the UK’s 2021 National Space Strategy, which sets out the government’s ambitions for the UK in space. This Strategy emphasises the economic potential of the UK space sector, particularly within commercial operations, and lays the foundations for the UK to become a frontrunner in the emerging sector.
The conjunction of these two events is incredibly promising for Skyrora, as we have ambitions to become the ‘SpaceX of Europe’ by championing environmental sovereign UK launch.
Skyrora Demonstrates Support of COP26 in Glasgow
From 31st October to 12th November, Skyrora demonstrated our support of COP26 in Glasgow. We were represented by Alan Thompson, Derek Harris, and Katie Miller at several sustainability conferences and events such as: the Scottish International Week sustainability panel; the National Manufacturing Institute’s (NMIS) ‘Manufacturing a Net Zero Future Conference’; One Carbon World’s ‘Promoting Action and Change During COP26’ event; the Scottish Government and Nordic Council of Ministers reception; the launch of the UK Department for International Trade’s Clean Growth Programme at COP26; and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre’s (EICC) Ignite Space 2021 sustainability panel. Events such as these are central to facilitating open discussions surrounding environmental launch practices within the UK.
Our communications team also conducted a successful social media campaign, sharing a myriad of climate action resources to our followers throughout the conference. Broadly, the campaign highlighted Skyrora’s key sustainability initiatives as well as encouraged individuals to participate in TEDx’s wider Count Us In campaign through day-to-day climate actions.
Larger initiatives discussed included our Ecosene rocket fuel, which is derived from plastic waste normally found in oceans and landfills; our Space Tug, an orbital transfer vehicle featuring a reignitable engine and capable of retrieving detrimental space junk; and our mobile launch complex, which can be assembled and disassembled anywhere in the world, ensuring the preservation of surrounding wildlife.
On a day-to-day basis, Skyrora’s business intern Molly Mitchell-McKnight has implemented several smaller actions throughout our headquarters office, including the distribution of reusable notebooks and pens, desk plants, battery bins, and eco-friendly cleaning products.
Spreading the Word: Skyrora Welcomes Representatives from ESA, CAA, and UKSA, as well as Astronaut Tim Peake, to Tour the Facilities
This quarter has been particularly exciting in regards to hosting tours of our facilities to VIP guests. Throughout the quarter, Skyrora had the honour of welcoming Dr. Paul Bates, CEO of the UK Space Agency, as well as Thilo Kranz and Jorgen Bru from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Colin Macleod, Rosie Whitbread, Andrew Devereaux, Robert Garner, and Parth Upadhyay from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to tour both our business headquarters and engineering facilities. It is always a pleasure to interact with the prominent leaders central to shaping the UK space industry to discuss Skyrora’s key role in realising sovereign launch capabilities for the nation.
Additionally, Skyrora provided a tour and introduced our team to ESA Astronaut Tim Peake, who acts on our board of advisors. Spending time with such an inspirational figure was highly rewarding to everyone on our team and has motivated us even further in our mission to reach orbit by the end of 2022. Skyrora is incredibly fortunate to have the support of such an experienced and influential individual and look forward to implementing Peake’s industry expertise to optimize our sustainable launch practices!
Skyrora Welcomes New Engineering and Business Hires to Reach Orbit by 2023
Following a vigorous assessment day with 100 applicants partaking in aptitude tests, company assessments, high-level engineering exams, company design projects, and speed interviews, Skyrora is excited to welcome graduates Magdalena Kraus from Wroclaw Poland; Amy Markham from Rabat, Malta; Edward Robertson from Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk; Conor Melens from Inverness; Leo Glass from Edinburgh; and Liam Brymer from Stirling to the team! Coming from various engineering and aerospace backgrounds, these six successful candidates were selected from a competition pool of over 1,000 applicants and will be crucial to helping Skyrora reach orbit by 2023.
Candidates described the assessment day as fast-paced and challenging, yet all the more rewarding to be hired by such a competitive organisation. According to Head of Engineering Dr. JJ Marlow, Skyrora is an incredibly dynamic place to work as a graduate, with a diversity of exciting projects to become involved with.
On our business team, Skyrora is also delighted to welcome junior data analyst Rosie Hull and accounting apprentice Mirko Merotto. With each new addition to our team, Skyrora becomes one step closer to launching the first-ever rocket from UK soil to unlock the nation’s launch potential. We cannot wait to continue growing our team in the coming year. Be sure to keep an eye out on our website for future employment opportunities!
Skyrora Wins Business Tech and Green Apple Awards and Attends Conferences in Dubai and Bremen
This October, Skyrora had the honour of accepting two awards at the 2021 Business Tech Awards ceremony. We won both the Manufacturing Tech Disruptor of the Year and the Silver Tech Company of the Year.
Following these awards, we are also delighted to have won the Investors in the Environment (iiE) National Gold Green Apple Award for ‘Environmental Best Practice in Science, Technology, and Aerospace.’ As the UK space industry continues to flourish, Skyrora is always grateful to be recognised within the wider business sector.
Additionally, among the many conferences Skyrora attended, we were represented by Katie Miller, Derek Harris, and Alan Thompson in Dubai at the 72nd International Astronautical Conference, the World Space Day Expo 2021, and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) in October, where we demonstrated thought leadership on launching small satellites sustainably from the UK as part of the 28th International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Symposium on Small Satellite Missions. These conferences provided Skyrora with the opportunity to be part of one of the largest space expos in the world, interacting with like-minded people and organisations all working towards bettering the small satellite sector through innovation.
Similarly, Nickie Finnegan, David King, and Derek Harris recently attended the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany from 15th to 18th November. Acting as the largest space conference in Europe, this three-day event was an exciting opportunity to interact with a variety of spacecraft, satellite, and launch vehicle organisations from small and large companies alike to discuss how the industry can collectively harness the potential of New Space to further the development of Europe’s launch capabilities. Skyrora spread awareness of our approach to both realising sovereign launch capabilities within Scotland and championing sustainable space technology, with Derek Harris speaking on the panel for Europe’s Spaceports in Focus: Driving Opportunities for the New-Age of Spaceflight. We look forward to future opportunities to interact with innovative organisations in an effort to place the UK space sector as a global frontrunner.
Skyrora Attends the Black Arrow Programme Celebration at the House of Lords in London
In November, Skyrora’s business team was kindly invited to an event hosted by our advisory board member, Baroness Susan Greenfield. The event took place in the House of Lords for the purpose of commemorating 50 years since the last launch of the original UK launch program, the Black Arrow. There were speeches from our own CEO Volodymyr Levykin, advisory board member David Willets and Mark Garnier MP (former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Trade). We remembered the UK’s space heritage that has inspired our own launch practices and emphasized how we at Skyrora will draw upon the revolutionary Black Arrow Programme as we plan for the demo launch of our Skyrora XL vehicle in the not-so-distant future.
Skyrora Pledges to Join the UNOOSA Space4Women Mentorship Programme in Honour of World Space Week 2021
As a company dedicated to encouraging equality within the space sector, Skyrora commenced Q4 by conducting a successful social media campaign in support of this year’s World Space Week theme of Women in Space. In addition to sharing daily resources associated with influential women in the space sector across all social platforms, Skyrora’s communications team also implemented an original ‘Space for Me’ Competition, in which all genders were encouraged to submit self-portraits depicting their dream job in space.
In the adult’s category, congratulations to Henry and Alisa, and in the children’s category, well done to Alicia and Cristoph! Skyrora always strives to maximise engagement with younger generations who will drive the future of the global space industry and looks forward to facilitating future competitions and opportunities for learning about space.
Following the ‘Space for Me’ competition, Skyrora also pledged to join the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Space4Women Mentorship Programme. This Programme matches mentees with experienced industry mentors who are committed to gender equality within the space sector. We are delighted to encourage the transformation to gender equality within STEM careers through this Programme and look forward to updating you on our progress with our mentees in the coming months.
Skyrora Design Team Releases New Festive Merchandise Line
To put our supporters in the holiday spirit, Skyrora’s communications and design teams have been working hard to release a brand-new line of winter-themed merchandise on our online store. This collection has been shaped by feedback from our followers on social media and features a unique selection of long sleeve tees and pin badges. As always, our merchandise is packaged using exclusively eco-friendly materials, and all proceeds from Skyrora merchandise go towards funding the development of our STEM programme.
Skyrora’s UK Team Celebrates Halloween with their First Social Since the Pandemic
To celebrate the spooky season, Skyrora’s UK business and engineering teams came together for the first time in two years at our spectacular Halloween social, which featured both Jack-O-Lantern and costume competitions, a space/Halloween themed quiz, and a chance for our business and engineering teams to properly meet and socialize.
In addition to giving our hardworking team a much-deserved break, integrating all aspects of our company is central to building a cohesive team that will work together to put Skyrora XL into orbit. It’s safe to say that this social was a success, and we look forward to encouraging team camaraderie through future socials!