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Former SpaceX executive joins Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora

spacex skyrora

Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora has appointed a former SpaceX executive as its chief operations officer.

During his time as VP of mission and launch operations, as well as customer operations and integration at the US space company, Lee Rosen was involved in over 150 missions.

Notably, this included the first astronaut launch from US soil in more than a decade.

Before this Rosen spent 23 years in the US Air Force, with command tours at Vandenberg Airforce Base and Cape Canaveral.

The high-profile move is a sign of the pulling power of the UK’s small but growing space sector.

“With Skyrora leading the way in UK launch and building infrastructure for the future of the UK’s space economy, it’s an exciting time to join the company,” said Lee Rosen, chief operations officer, Skyrora.

Skyrora is aiming to become the first UK company to launch from British soil and by 2030 wants to have 16 launches per year from its Saxavord launch complex in the Shetland Islands.

“Currently, the UK is completely reliant on the US and, although this is a crucial relationship, Skyrora is building towards a future when space capabilities in this country will allow for regular sovereign launches,” added Rosen.

The Scottish space company is developing rockets that will transport satellites to space. Skyrora also wants to compete with SpaceX and provide commercial space travel.

Last year Skyrora secured £2.5m in funding from the European Space Agency’s Boost! programme, using the investment to continue developing its XL launch vehicle.

Volodymyr Levykin, CEO and founder, Skyrora, said: “Developing sovereign, mobile and sustainably-focused launch services is of the utmost importance for the UK’s ability to follow through on its commitments to address climate change, provide cutting edge defence capabilities, and fulfil its potential in the emerging global space economy.”

In March Skyrora opened a new rocket engine testing facility in Midlothian, Edinburgh and recently completed a successful test of its 70kN rocket engine.

London-based Seraphim Space Camp last month revealed the crew members of its latest space tech accelerator program, with four of them being UK based.

Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls