SME space companies to benefit from UK funding commitments to ESA

Stephen Kuper

Skyrora, a pioneering space launch company, has welcomed the recent announcement by the UK government to commit nearly £400 million per year to the European Space Agency (ESA) for the next five years.

SME space companies to benefit from UK funding commitments to ESA
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The new commitment, which represents a significant increase, will open the doors for smaller space businesses to access new funding.

This is because it includes funding of up to £15 million ($28.3 million) in total, over the next three years, specifically for small launch vehicles. This allows companies such as Skyrora to deliver viable alternatives faster, while also strengthening the sector as a whole.

Skyrora’s goal is to open up access to space for smaller satellite manufacturers, who have been underserved by a lack of dedicated launchers to place their satellites in orbit.

This situation has forced many manufacturers to send their satellites as secondary payload on large launchers, creating a huge backlog for manufacturers and putting critical Earth-observation research programs, such as climate change monitoring, on pause.

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Volodymyr Levykin, chief executive of Skyrora, said, "This is a very welcome development for our growing industry and presents us with a real opportunity. It is a game-changer in terms of how quickly we will be able to move ahead with our ambitious plans." 

Skyrora is a leading European private launch vehicle company. It is headquartered in Edinburgh, with a team of more than 120 personnel in facilities throughout the UK and Europe.

"Back in 2010, the UK government and the wider space industry agreed an ambitious Space Innovation and Growth Strategy and much of this decade has been spent laying the groundwork," Levykin added. 

The company aims to cater for the growing demand to send commercial satellites into space using a combination of proven technology, advanced manufacturing and detailed knowledge. It is in the process of developing cost-effective launch vehicles that will launch from a UK spaceport by 2022.

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