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New fuel to give Sutherland space station rockets a greener lift-off


By Matt Leslie

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An artist's impression of the new spaceport to be based on the A'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland. Picture: NORR Architects
An artist's impression of the new spaceport to be based on the A'Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland. Picture: NORR Architects

A NEW fuel said to be perfect for Scottish weather has been developed to give rockets a "greener lift-off" once the spaceport in Sutherland is operation.

The company behind the research is Edinburgh-based Skyrora, which specialises in the launch of small satellites with an emphasis on developing new and cost-effective methods of doing so.

The A'Mhoine peninsula in north Sutherland has been chosen as the most suitable place from which to launch rockets vertically to put satellites in orbit.

Skyrora had recently successfully tested its new rocket engines that were powered by Ecosene – a fuel developed from plastic waste that Skyrora claims to "make its launch vehicles greener and more ecologically sound than the competition".

It also insists that its fuel results in around 45 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions and, because it does not require cryogenic freezing in order to preserve it, the fuel can be stored in tanks for long periods of time despite what the weather throws at it.

North MP, Jamie Stone – in his capacity as vice-chairman of the Space All-Party Parliamentary Group – met with Skynora to learn more about the research.

Mr Stone said: "Space technology companies are advancing at an incredible pace but now have to wait for the Government to catch up.

"Skyrora has innovated a storable propellant fuel which would be perfect for Scottish weather.

"Unlike typical rocket fuel, it does not have to be used immediately. This means it would be amenable to our volatile weather in the far north.

"The spaceport in Sutherland will show the very best the Highlands has to offer, while also creating highly skilled jobs and boosting the economy.

"I look forward to seeing space technology companies work with our local communities to keep jobs local."


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