Lift off: First rocket successfully launched from Shetland

Skylark Nano rocket reaches an altitude of six kilometres from Fethaland Peninsula.

A rocket has been successfully launched for the first time from Shetland.

Rocket firm Skyrora launched the two-metre Skylark Nano rocket, which reached an altitude of six kilometres, from Fethaland Peninsula.

Edinburgh-based Skyrora, which hopes to operate from one of the three proposed spaceports in Scotland, carried out the suborbital launch on Saturday.

Launching commercial rockets from Shetland in the future is a potential option.

The launch was completed for educational purposes, including collecting meteorological data, measuring wind profiles, analysing the vehicles trajectory and providing critical training in support of Skyrora’s future plans.

It comes after Skyrora successfully completed a full static fire test on their Skylark-L launch vehicle last month.

Skylark Nano’s first launch took place in Ross-shire, in the Highlands, in summer 2018.

Skyrora, which hopes to make the UK a “rocket-launching nation”, is developing launch vehicle technology, with the aim of reducing launch costs, and looking to create 170 jobs by the end of 2023.

Robin Hague, head of the launch, said: “The launch signifies a vital step towards Skyrora’s ambitions to become the UK’s ‘go-to’ satellite launch provider.

“We’re ecstatic and truly proud. This is a great success for Skylark Nano, and the Skyrora team in general.

“Launching from Shetland is very important for us because it’s a potential option for our Skyrora XL orbital commercial launch vehicle.”

Volodymyr Levykin, Skyrora CEO, said: “We hope reaching space will inspire the whole nation and show the younger generation what the future of UK Space holds.”

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