Skyrora Skylark L rocket launch attempt fails • The Register

Scottish space company Skyrora’s first attempt to launch its Skylark L rocket failed after it unexpectedly crashed into the Norwegian Sea.

The Skylark L is a suborbital vehicle: It is intended to take off vertically, reach more than four times the speed of sound and reach a height of 125 kilometers – but it cannot leave Earth orbit. The flight demonstration, conducted this month from a mobile platform in Langanes, Iceland, was intended to be a stepping stone to scaling the design to a larger Skylark XL vehicle capable of true orbit.

Unfortunately, the very first launch of the smaller Skylark L didn’t go according to plan. “The vehicle left the launch pad and experienced an anomaly when it landed in the Norwegian Sea about 500 meters from the launch site,” Skyrora confirmed in a statement Thursday.

“No people or wildlife were injured in any way and salvage of the vehicle is currently underway. Multiple tracking systems, as well as boats and aircraft, were used to streamline the recovery process.”

You can watch the Skylark L on the launch pad ahead of that fateful launch here:

Youtube video

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Skyrora hopes to launch a commercial rocket service that will deliver modest payloads into low Earth orbit. The Skylark XL will be a light-class, three-stage launch vehicle that will launch spacecraft into sun-synchronous or polar orbits.

About 70 percent of the technology from the Skylark-L launch attempt is used in the systems of the Skylark-XL rocket, it said. Well, once everything works, let’s assume.

Skyrora is aiming for its first orbital launch in 2023. Volodymyr Levykin, founder and CEO, said the Skylark L rocket has faced difficult weather conditions and its hardware has not been tested at low temperatures. Scientists and engineers study the anomaly.

“After more than three decades in business, I can assure you that despite the best of planning, construction and testing, anomalies unfortunately still exist,” said Lee Rosen, Skyrora’s Chief Operating Officer. And yes, it’s true, rocket development is complex and buggy, so expect crashes and detonations.

“Skyrora’s launch attempt for Skylark L has provided the team with valuable experience in the operational procedures, logistical coordination and execution of the rapid assembly and disassembly of our mobile launch complex, experiences that will greatly advance us in our mission to reach orbit ,” he added.

“Based on what we have achieved here,” said the CEO, “we remain confident of achieving our goal of a full vertical orbital launch from UK soil in 2023.

In 2019, Skyrora launched a Skylark Micro rocket at just under 27 km (88,500 ft). ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/15/skyrora_rocket_fail/ Skyrora Skylark L rocket launch attempt fails • The Register

Rick Schindler

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