An Edinburgh-based rocket company has received more than £2 million in funds from the European Space Agency.
Skyrora is aiming to be the first UK company to launch satellites from Europe.
The €3 million (£2,587,065) worth of investment will be used to complete the technology required to deliver consistent UK launches.
Skyrora will use its 23-meter long, 56-tonne XL rocket to deliver payloads up to 315 kg into orbit.
The company plans a test launch in 2022 from a UK spaceport and said the project will create more than 170 highly skilled jobs.
Volodymyr Levykin, founder and CEO of Skyrora, said: “This ESA contract will accelerate Skyrora’s progress on its journey to be the first to achieve the UK’s sovereign orbital launch.
“I am delighted that the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency support our programme.”
British astronaut, Tim Peake, an adviser to Skyrora, said: “Independent access to space is vital for the UK to realise the full potential of its space industry and this exciting announcement for Skyrora brings us a big step closer to achieving that goal.”
Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government’s trade and innovation minister, welcomed the funding.
“Our aim for Scotland is to secure a slice of the $400 billion global space market by 2030, remaining committed to our climate change targets and becoming a net-zero society by 2045,” he said.
The UK Government said the funding was a “step forward for UK spaceflight”.
Amanda Solloway, parliamentary under-secretary of state for science, research and innovation, said: “The UK’s space industry is thriving and we have bold ambitions to be Europe’s leading destination for small satellite launches, developing world class commercial spaceflight capability up and down the country.”
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