According to an official at the SaxaVord spaceport in the Shetland Islands in Scotland, its first orbital satellite launch is now expected before the end of this year.
Scott Hammond, director of operations at SaxaVord spaceport, acknowledged there is often uncertainty around timetables for private space launches. However, he said a recent agreement with a German company, Rocket Factory Augsburg, would see them begin testing their engines in the summer ahead of a launch later in the year.
He told the Press Association: “Probably in July, we’re going to start full stage testing. That will be the full, first stage, nine engines all firing for about three minutes. So that’ll be really, really impressive. I expect about four months or so of that depending on success. And then we’re looking with Rocket Factory to launch towards the end of the year, for the orbital launch.”
I would not bet a lot of money on this schedule. Rocket Factory is a German rocket startup that has never launched before, and the first launch from such startups are routinely delayed months to years. What Hammond is really doing is creating buzz for SaxaVord, even as a rival spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland, is getting built.
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