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Scotland’s Skyrora And Space Iceland Search For Possible Launch Sites

A satellite image of Iceland covered in snow taken in October 2008 by the Envisat remote sensing satellite. Image courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Skyrora, the Edinburgh-based satellite launch company, is looking in Iceland for a possible space launch location, according to reports in the Icelandic news media. The Skyrora visit was hosted and assisted by Iceland’s own space body, Space Iceland.

Skyrora is developing its Skyrora XL satellite launch vehicle and is already testing its SkyHy and SkyLark Nano, Micro, and L sub-orbital sounding rockets and employs approximately 130 people. The company has facilities in England, Slovakia, and Ukraine as well as its headquarters in Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh.

“We’ve had a very good partnership with Space Iceland and hope to be able to work with more interested parties,” said Owain Hughes, business manager at Skyrora in a Space Iceland statement.

“Our goal is to develop rockets with as low a carbon footprint as possible. We want in this way to show responsibility towards the environment and the coming generations,” said Skyrora’s Robin Hague who is in Iceland scouting for possible launch locations.

Atli Þór Fanndal, a consultant at Space Iceland, said, “Skyrora is a powerful company which has already attracted considerable attention around the world. The company is very young and is growing from amongst other things British rocket technology.” Fanndal added that any investment in Iceland by Skyrora would be very much welcomed by the country.

Iceland’s geographical position and topography offers Skyrora numerous locations from which to launch its sub-orbital sounding rockets as well as its satellite launch vehicles into low-Earth orbit (LEO), and according to the Space Iceland press statement, Skyrora are rigorously exploring all possible locations.

Space Iceland was founded in 2019 and is exploring a range of opportunities and possibilities of getting Iceland more involved and integrated in the global space and satellite industry. In 2016, the Icelandic Parliament passed legislation that started exploratory work for the country to potentially join the European Space Agency (ESA).

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