Skyrora and Spirit AeroSystems Unite to Boost UK Space Industry

Skyrora, a UK-based launch-vehicle manufacturer, has recently announced a collaborative partnership with Spirit AeroSystems, creating an important moment for its journey towards becoming the first British company to launch satellites from UK soil. The partnership was celebrated in Belfast, the location of Spirit’s largest UK manufacturing facility, indicating a promising future for Skyrora’s orbital launch vehicles.

Volodymyr Levykin, CEO and Founder of Skyrora, discussed the importance of this alliance: “This alliance is a real testament to the strides Skyrora has made towards our mission of being the first British company to launch from UK soil.” He emphasised the partnership’s role in renewing Skyrora’s focus on localising its supply chain, a key aspect of their mission for a responsible approach to orbital launch.


Spirit AeroSystems: Enhancing UK’s Space Capabilities


Sir Michael J Ryan CBE, Vice President of European Space and Defence at Spirit AeroSystems, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership: “Through our support of innovative, sustainable, space technologies and clusters, we can add real value to building UK launch capability.” Spirit’s role will focus on fully industrialising Skyrora’s future production requirements, facilitating a seamless transition from development to manufacture.


Skyrora’s Achievements and Future Ambitions


Skyrora has been making big strides in the space industry, including the test launch of its suborbital Skylark L vehicle in October 2022. This launch was part of the company’s incremental learning approach, setting the stage for up to 16 launches per year once operating at scale.


The Role of Additive Manufacturing


A key aspect of this collaboration is the focus on space technologies, particularly additive manufacturing (AM). Skyrora will provide Spirit with access to Skyprint 2, its large in-house hybrid 3D printer. Situated in Skyrora’s manufacturing facility near Glasgow, Skyprint 2 is poised to aid in developing a local supply chain, reducing costs, and leading times for Spirit, thereby bolstering industrial cooperation and promoting growth within the UK space sector.


UK Government’s Support and Vision


The UK Government, recognising the potential of the space sector, has made orbital launch a priority. Matt Archer, Director of Launch at the UK Space Agency, noted, “This collaboration between Skyrora and Spirit clearly demonstrates the attractiveness of the UK’s thriving launch sector and the growing interest from both UK-based and international companies.” The National Space Strategy outlines plans to secure a more significant portion of the global space economy, expected to be worth £490 billion by 2030, positioning the UK as Europe’s leading provider of small satellite launch.


Skyrora’s Global Impact and Local Focus


The collaboration shows how how much of an impact Skyrora has on the global stage. It also reinforces its goal to make usse of local talent and skills as the space economy continues to grow. The partnership with Spirit, leveraging the latter’s aerostructures expertise, will explore opportunities to transition Skyrora’s orbital launch vehicles from development to full-scale production, reflecting Skyrora’s dedication to localising its manufacturing capabilities.

This alliance between Skyrora and Spirit AeroSystems is one of many of UK’s space endeavours to come. It exemplifies how collaborative efforts can accelerate the development of innovative technologies, strengthen local manufacturing, and position the UK at the forefront of the global space economy. As Skyrora progresses towards its goal of vertical satellite launches from UK soil, this partnership stands as a testament to the country’s growing prowess in the space sector.