SCOTTISH space firm Skyrora has announced the opening of a European engine test facility and the completion of the first phase of tests for its 30kN rocket engine.

One of Europe’s leading launch vehicle companies, the new facilities provide the Edinburgh-based business with a base capable of testing engines up to 70kN for its sub-orbital and orbital launch vehicles.

From the new site, Skyrora will continue its progress to completing a full burn and gimbal test, which is required before rockets can be launched into space.

Achieving successful engine tests puts the firm one step closer to satellites being launched into near-space and orbital altitudes.

This is a crucial stage for our small satellite launcher development and places Skyrora in the top 10% of small launch vehicle companies in the world.

The company’s sub-orbital and orbital engines are powered by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene, which reduces the cost and emissions from launching.

The 30kN engine has been constructed using additive manufacturing techniques and advanced materials.

It is nearly 10 times greater in thrust than the 3.5kN upper stage engine which Skyrora successfully test fired at Newquay Airport, Cornwall, in July 2019.

Skyrora’s chief executive and founder, Volodymyr Levykin, said: “This is a huge milestone for Skyrora and marks the start of our test program for our larger engines.

“Our team has worked incredibly hard to develop our engine technologies so Skyrora can help make space more accessible for all.

“Skyrora will continue to work to ensure the world-changing benefits of space are realised here in the UK and in Europe.”

Skyrora is aiming to set the pace for progress in the sector as it looks to fulfil the UK Space Agency’s 2021 launch target.

The Edinburgh-headquartered company has a team of more than 120 personnel in facilities throughout the UK and Europe.

The company aims to conduct the first-ever orbital launch from western Europe, with the first launch scheduled for Q4 2021 from one of three candidate launch sites in the north of Scotland.

The firm had its second successful rocket launch in August at Kildermorie Estate, Rossshire. A major step in ambitions for an oribital launch, the “Skylark Nano” – a two metre rocket – reached an altitude of around 6km.

Aside from its cosmic achievements, the firm recently announced that their engineers had developed a prototype hybrid 3D printing machine.

This groundbreaking technology combines robotics, 3D printing technology and a milling machine in a single device.