The rocket manufacturer Skyrora is utilizing additive manufacturing for rockets carrying satellites. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, it is one of the few companies contributing to the founding of civil space activity in the UK. Currently the company intends to open a testing facility for completing burn and gimbal tests of the 30kN rocket engines. The facility also has a full rocket launch scheduled for Q4 2021.
If the Launch is successful Skyrora will be the first complete orbital launch from the western hemisphere. “This is a huge milestone for Skyrora and marks the start of our test program for our larger engines,” comments Skyrora CEO and founder Volodymyr Levykin. “Our team has worked incredibly hard to develop our engine technologies so Skyrora can help make space more accessible for all.” Continuing, “Skyrora Will continue to work to ensure the world-changing benefits of space are realized here in the UK and in Europe.”
The company was founded back in 2017, it uses a combination of tradition and additive manufacturing techniques for the production of its engines and vehicles. Skyrora is currently developing the Skyrora 1 suborbital launch vehicle, and the Skyrora XL, made for orbital launches. A Small video of the rocket can be seen here.
Leo, the precursor of the engine that will eventually launch the XL rocket into orbit, completed a third-stage test firing. The Leo is tipped to be “the first commercially fully 3D printed bi-liquid rocket engine to be tested in the UK” and is capable of producing 3.5 kN of thrust. The company has confirmed that they plan on testing a 3-ton thrust 3D printed engine.
The official test site has yet to be confirmed, however, Earlier, in September 2019, Rosyth Dockyard in Fife was identified as a potential candidate after the company had its application for engine testing was approved by the local council. At the time of this announcement, a company spokesperson said, “We are considering many options and are looking for locations that can serve our needs, which will provide us with access to skills […] We are in the early stages and discussions are ongoing with landowners regarding all potential options.” Due to location, the developing Sutherland spaceport could also be a potential site.
Essop, Anas, et al. “Skyrora to Open Test Facility for Rocket Engine Supporting 3D Printing.” 3D Printing Industry, 14 Oct. 2019, 3dprintingindustry.com/news/skyrora-to-open-test-facility-for-rocket-engine-supporting-3d-printing-163323/.