European space company Skyrora hopes to test rockets in Iceland this year, RÚV reports. A company spokesperson says conditions in Iceland, particularly in the Northeast, are ideal for launching rockets. Skyrora hopes to execute three test launches in Iceland this year.
Skyrora is a European start-up that develops rockets for launching satellites into space. The company is headquartered in Scotland, where it has developed, among other things, a 3D-printed rocket engine.
“[Iceland is] a fantastic geographic location, especially on the north coast. It’s got quite a low population density, fantastic access to sun-synchronous and polar orbits for the satellites,” Owain Hughes, the company’s Partnerships Manager, told reporters in Iceland recently, adding that a fair amount of space testing has already been done in Iceland, “for example the tests for the Apollo crews back in the ’60s.”
“Over the next 12 months, we plan on launching rockets between about two metres in size to 11 metres in size reaching altitudes of between 45 kilometres to 100 kilometres. They will end up back on land so we intend on launching them into the sea, but we’re working with the relevant authorities including the Coast Guard in order to ensure that there’s no threat to mariners out at sea, there is no long term damage and that all of it is brought back to land as soon as possible after launch,” Hughes stated.
Hughes hopes that junior college and university students can be involved in the launches and that the project sparks Icelanders’ interest in the space industry.