Civil Aviation Authority flags work with Glasgow’s Skyrora for space launches

Civil Aviation Authority flags work with Glasgow’s Skyrora for space launches

As well as the 343 licenses issued, the regulator is also monitoring more than 750 UK satellites in space, including supporting the deployment of the OneWeb satellite constellation, one of the largest constellations in the world.

It said it was also funding medical studies into the effects of commercial suborbital space flights, alongside the Royal Air Force and King’s College London.


The CAA was highlighting its efforts in this field on a visit to Glasgow-based space rocket manufacturer Skyrora, which has developed its own eco-friendly fuel, Ecosene, made of waste plastics.

The CAA said it was continuing to work with Skyrora on its application for a UK launch licence as the regulator will be involved in licensing all aspects of the first orbital launch from Scotland.

“We are working constantly with industry to review and improve our processes to make sure the UK space sector is safe, sustainable, and successful,” said Rob Bishton, Joint-Interim CEO of the CAA. “As the UK’s space regulator, it is our role to enable and support the sector so it can become world-leading.”

“The UK space sector is thriving, and Scotland is poised to be right at the heart of the UK’s future space ambitions. Scottish engineers and scientists will help drive the technology and innovation needed to help put the UK on the map in the burgeoning space sector.”

The Scottish Government estimates Scotland’s space sector could generate £4 billion for the country’s economy by 2030, as well as creating 20,000 jobs.

Pictured above are the regulator’s Joint-Interim Chief Executives Paul Smith (left) and Rob Bishton (right), along with Sir Stephen Hillier, a Non-Executive Directors of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Board (middle).


Previously, MPs – The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – had criticised delays by the CAA, saying it was not providing enough support for the licensing process for the Virgin Orbit launch from Spaceport Cornwall, in Newquay. It eventually took place, in January 2023, after Virgin Orbit received its space launch licence in late December 2022.

The CAA officially became the UK’s space regulator in the summer of 2021. The estimated time for the delivery of a launch licence is between 9-18 months depending on complexity and the quality of preparations by licence applicants, it said at the time.

See also: CAA takes on space regulator role

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