MSP welcomes space firm

Skyrora team with Colin Beattie (centre)
Skyrora team with Colin Beattie (centre)

A Loanhead-based rocket developer has been praised for its ‘investment in local resources’.

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, has visited Skyrora’s cutting-edge production facility in Loanhead, commending the rocket firm for their role in boosting Scotland’s space sector.

The Midlothian site is the newest facility acquired by the rapidly-growing space firm, with avionic testing and vehicle integration currently underway ahead of a series of upcoming test mission launches for which a Request for Proposal has recently been sent to a series of potential launch locations in across the UK.

Mr Beattie (SNP) said: “I welcome Skyrora to my constituency and look forward to seeing the advancements they will bring – not only to Loanhead but also to Scotland’s wider economy.

“By choosing to base its production facility at Edgefield Industrial Estate, Loanhead, Skyrora is already showing that they’re adding value to the economy by investing in local resources.”

The facility also serves as the current location of the Black Arrow rocket – the only UK rocket to reach orbit, which was transported back from its landing site in South Australia by Skyrora earlier this year to inspire future generations – as it waits to begin a tour of British museums and space exhibitions.

Daniel Smith, director at Skyrora, said: “We were absolutely thrilled to show Mr Beattie around our latest facility and have the opportunity to explain the specifics of the work we’re doing here in Loanhead, particularly around our upcoming test missions and how they will de-risk the development of our orbital launcher.

“The site is an ideal location to perform final testing and assembly tasks thanks to its proximity to local suppliers and being just 20 minutes from our central Edinburgh HQ.”

Mr Beattie’s visit coincided with Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation’s prediction that Scotland’s space economy will be worth £4 billion by 2030.

Mr Smith added: “Scotland is poised to play a leading role in the new commercial space race due to the UK’s vision to capture a larger portion of the market and simple geography – there’s nowhere better in Europe for launching to low earth orbit.

“When you combine this with an existing space network that covers the full value chain and is supported by world class universities as well as top engineering and aerospace firms, it’s clear that our country’s long history of cutting-edge innovation is set to continue in this fast-growing market.”

Despite being under two years old, Skyrora completed its inaugural test mission north of the border last year and has grown to over 100 staff across four countries.

The firm draws on Britain’s launch heritage with ambitions to build a robust supply chain while creating new employment opportunities to inspire the next generation of talent.