LONDON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- British rocket startup Skyrora is gearing up for a potential launch of a single-stage suborbital vehicle from Iceland in the next few months, paving the way for its first rocket launch from Scotland in 2023.
The launch of the vehicle, called "Skylark L," will enable Skyrora to demonstrate the key capabilities of its mobile launch complex and "give the team valuable hands-on experience in the lead up to the launch of Skyrora XL next year," Nickie Finnegan, lead communications officer at Skyrora, told Xinhua via e-mail.
According to Skyrora's website, the Skyrora XL is a three-stage, light-class launch vehicle intended to place payloads into Sun-Synchronous Orbit between a range of 500-1,000 km in altitude, and into Polar Orbit between a range of 200-1,000 km in altitude.
Earlier in August, the company successfully completed the static fire test of the second stage of its flagship Skyrora XL orbital rocket at the Machrihanish Airbase in Scotland.
According to Skyrora, it was the biggest integrated stage test to be held in Britain since those of Black Arrow and Blue Streak in the 1970s.
The company said that it was now moving one step closer to entering commercial operations, with an inaugural orbital launch scheduled for 2023 from the SaxaVord Space Center in northern Scotland.
It comes as competition between launch companies is heating up in the commercial space sector, with several players developing plans to launch small satellites from British soil.
"Establishing a sovereign launch capability in the UK will enable the UK government to achieve its goal of capturing 10 percent of the global space market by 2030," Finnegan said of the significance of the rocket launch for the global space industry.
It will "unlock a key component of the space value chain and close the significant market gap that these satellite manufacturers currently face in their endeavour to reach orbit," she noted.
Headquartered in Edinburgh, Skyrora designs, manufactures, and deploys rockets to clear the way for small satellite manufacturers looking to access space.
Finnegan also stressed that bolstering the capabilities of the British space industry through a British rocket launch would lead to "a myriad social, economic, and environmental benefits for the larger society." ■