back to article UK's Space Command to be 'capable of launching our first rocket in 2022'

British rocketeer Skyrora has been testing the third-stage engine for its Skyrora XL rocket with launch planned for 2023. 100 tests were conducted at the company's Engine Test Complex in Fife, Scotland, and included a vacuum chamber test designed to mimic conditions in space. The first 20 tests in vacuum conditions saw the 3. …

  1. Sykowasp

    I quite like the fact this rocket is strapped to a couple of containers.

    Very British.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Wait till they mount the Reliant Robin

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Pint

        That remains one of my favorite Top Gear episodes.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Best of British Boffinry

      I trust there is a shed just out of view with a couple of Brylcreemed boffins puffing approvingly on their pipes.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Best of British Boffinry

        Yes there probably was when we launched our first rocket. In the 1960s.

        It would seem that the powers that be have forgotten Black Arrow which did successfully launch the Prospero satellite in 1971. So to claim that we will be "capable of launching our first rocket in 2022." is over 50 years too late.

        It seems that: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

        George Santayana

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Best of British Boffinry

          Not only that, but there were routine launches of Skylark, in fact 441 launches between 1957 and 2015. A sounding rocket, which may have been only suborbital, but the peak development could lift 200kg to 350 miles altitude. So significantly ahead of this Space Command “first rocket”.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    But I can't help wondering about the vacuum test

    I mean, no matter how big your evacuated space is, as soon as that rocket lights up, it's not going to be much of a vacuum for long. Or at least, not without a bloody great pump to get rid of the exhaust as fast as it's being produced.

    Anyone able to tell me how this sort of thing is done?

    1. Dave Pickles

      Re: But I can't help wondering about the vacuum test

      It's called a steam ejector. Squirt steam at high pressure into a venturi. The exhaust gas is entrained with the steam and exits at high speed, leaving a partial vacuum behind. Rolls-Royce had one at their Bristol factory many years ago (for testing RB211s among other things) which I had the pleasure of seeing in action.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: But I can't help wondering about the vacuum test

        That sounds like a massively scaled-up version of the thing used on steam engines to get water into the boiler, where the boiler is at high pressure and the water isn't.

        Impressive :-)

        Oh, by the way, if you know any youngsters interested in steam engines and you want to move them on from Thomas, Peter's Railway is an absolutely excellent series; stories intermixed with technical explanations.

        M.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: But I can't help wondering about the vacuum test

          Steam Injectors use the venturi effect...

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Injector

          Steam injectors and associated pipework on "Evening Star"

          https://locoyard.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/138-2013-national-railway-museum-york-the-great-gathering-br-standard-9f-92220-evening-star.jpg

          At the "other end", nozzles are employed in the smoke box to direct the spent steam from the cylinders to eject smoke and create draught to drive the combustion

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_locomotive_exhaust_system

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: But I can't help wondering about the vacuum test

            Thanks guys! I'm always up to learn something new!

  3. Howard Sway Silver badge

    12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

    These distractions and attempts to look in control are getting mightily expensive.

    So now we have Space Command, a back of an envelope idea that an eight year old might rightly be proud of. Then there's the lasers. Of course there were going to be lasers.....

    “Our warships and combat vehicles will carry directed energy weapons, destroying targets with inexhaustible lasers. For them, the phrase 'out of ammunition' will become redundant," he told the Commons.

    Presumably, he's unaware of the concept of "out of electricity".

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

      >For them, the phrase 'out of ammunition' will become redundant,"

      If only we were involved in some never ending wars

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

      Presumably, he's unaware of the concept of "out of electricity".

      That's been factored in for Britain being carbon neutral/move to renewable energy. The warships will be supplied by mobile wind turbines that the ships will tow behind them - new ships are invariably electric drive, with generators driven by diesel and or gas turbine prime movers, so no problems there.

    3. Random Handle

      Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

      >Presumably, he's unaware of the concept of "out of electricity".

      No chance of that with the fusion reactors he commissioned a few months back - have you forgotten him announcing £220 million for the project, more than enough to get the job done.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

      A pity that the magic money tree wasn't around when the new carriers were being ordered - they could have been nuclear powered*, had EMALS which would enable F35-Cs and fixed wing AEW to be launched and recovered.

      *I did read a case against Blighty having nuclear powered carriers - something to do with certain (friendly) countries banning such vessels from visiting

      1. EvilDrSmith

        Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

        All sorts of issues against nuclear power, including inability to access some friendly ports because of their objections, difficulties in finding trained crew to operate them (not much alternative civilian employment after you complete your time with the RN), the inevitable 'noise' created by the anti-nuclear lobby in the UK, and the need for some means of refuelling / end of life disposal (so would probably need a brand new dock be constructed to handle the nuclear issues, meaning it has to be to silly-high standards).

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

          >All sorts of issues against nuclear power

          Principally the inability of BAe to sell copies of them to 3rd world countries once the UK has paid for the development costs for the 2 prototypes

          > end of life disposal (so would probably need a brand new dock be constructed to handle the nuclear issues, meaning it has to be to silly-high standards).

          Alternately declare war on a superpower and send your remaining carrier in a last ditch one-way Kamikase mission against massively superior forces in the East China Sea. Cheapest way to get rid of them.

        2. S4qFBxkFFg

          Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

          Don't all these issues already apply to the Royal Navy's nuclear powered submarines though?

          It would be nice if the big defence companies could be made to construct some sort of modular reactor that keeps being talked about. One or more could then be plopped into all the RN's vessels, whether above or below the surface.

          Once carbon taxes go high enough, the big shipping firms could probably be persuaded to buy a few too.

          1. EvilDrSmith

            Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

            Yes, but...

            The ballistic missile submarines don't visit other nations' ports at all, and the attack submarines just have to avoid ports that don't want them.

            The more nuclear powered ships you have, the more reactor technicians etc you need.

            The anti-nuclear lobby object to the missiles as well as the submarines, and perhaps more importantly, it's an old argument (it's politically easier to replace like-for-like than introduce a new type of nuclear powered vessel).

            Similarly, the infrastructure to support the subs exists, a carrier sized vessel would need new (and expensive) infrastructure.

            Probably more importantly:

            The missile submarines have to be nuclear powered, no other technology exists that lets them do their job.

            The attack submarines could be powered by alternate sources, but that gives different capabilities, and non-nuclear subs are generally viewed as inferior to nuclear powered for the ocean-going role

            For aircraft carriers, other (credible) power options do exist.

            Plus, the Royal Navy has a very long history of operating flying machines from ships. It's reasonably likely that the reason the QEII class carriers don't have catapults etc is because the RN didn't want them

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              The Phantom Lives!

              Incidentally, the last catapult launched aircraft that the RN had were F4-Phantoms in the 1970s - they were transferred to the RAF before they were retired in the 1990s. The Phantom is still in active service with the Hellenic Air Force, until their likely replacement with the Rafale

              https://www.haf.gr/en/equipment/f-4e-phantom-ii/

    5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: 12 billion announced yesterday on green stuff, another 24 billion announced today....

      Phasers on stun...

      "Johnson rattled through his Christmas toy list. There was going to be more money for cyber-weapons – Boris is one of the few world leaders not to have realised the Star Wars films were not documentaries – and the army was to be equipped with whatever it needed: phasers, lightsabers and special top secret communications to let them know where the enemy was.""

      Politics Sketch - John Crace

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/nov/19/an-expensive-sinking-feeling-as-johnson-seeks-to-rule-the-waves

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Battle Space

    Increase in Defence budget and the creation of Space Command - Boris just wants to relive his youth...

    http://www.tri-ang.co.uk/2020/2020%20Battle%20Space.html

    http://tri-ang.co.uk/battlesat.html

    1. Lord Kipper III
      Thumb Up

      Re: Battle Space

      Oh goodness me - that brings back hazy memories from my distant childhood. The railcar mounted spy satellite is quite possibly the only thing that the UK will be capable of launching for quite some time.

    2. roytrubshaw
      Thumb Up

      Re: Battle Space

      That was my best Christmas Pressy ever!

      I had the satellite launcher, the searchlight, helicopter, the single rocket launcher (you could stick a cap in the "warhead" so it would go "bang" when it landed), and the four-rocket launcher!

      The rockets had lead noses (something pretty dense anyway - possibly tungsten?), none of your Health & Safety here mate!

      The pickups for the searchlight were a bit tempramental and you had to stop the locomotive (and remove it from the track) to get the best light but I didn't care!

      Thanks for the memory F&N!

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Battle Space

        Trubshaw...

        Whilst you were playing with models, "Uncle Brian" (any relation?) was playing with full size aircraft!

        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1327939/Brian-Trubshaw.html

        https://www.llanellich.org.uk/files/192-brian-trubshaw

  5. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Where will the rockets take off from? Saint-Helena?

    1. Snorlax

      Gibraltar’s kinda close to the equator?

      Diego Garcia would be perfect but they’d have to evict the Yanks first.

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Most Earth observation and LEO satellites go into highly-inclined orbits that don't benefit from the extra kick you get from equatorial launch sites; so lugging everything to Ascension Island would just be an unnecessary expense. For instance many US national security payloads fly out of Vandenburg in California and Russian military satellites are launched out of Plesetsk in the Arctic.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Maybe NW Scotland. Good for launching into polar orbits as there's a lot of sea downrange for bits to fall into.

      And let's hope they plug the thruster control cables into the right thrusters.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Maybe NW Scotland. Good for launching into polar orbits as there's a lot of sea downrange for bits to fall into.

        Or Thanet .

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          The launch site of Moonraker (in the novel) is somewhere near Deal, with the target range being the North Sea - of course it was set in the days before the place was full of oil rigs

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      I believe the plan is to launch them from “Glasgow” Prestwick Airport

    5. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Pint

      Whats Doctor Russell got to do with it?

      Koenig will be along to crash something soon enough!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will Space Command also order toilet roll from MP's friends companies at £2000 a roll? I laugh at all the shock with "PPE" it's been going on for decades.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      When we crash out of the EU without a deal and the Kent lorry park grinds to a halt, it will only be those toilet rolls that will be available, disbursed via the "Ration Book" app that the government will introduce, implemented under the supervision of Dido Harding

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Feeling smug because her indoors (Turkish by birth) insisted on a toilet with built in bidet thing. So the empty shelves of "paper goods" in our local supermarkets aren't a problem.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Holmes

          My House

          Having bidet hoses in every bathroom is great, personally I use them in lieu* of the old fashioned bog brush rather than the purpose intended when it comes to cleaning errrr pebble dashing**....

          One of them is so handily placed it can reach the areas of the shower cubicle that the shower head can't reach when it comes to post shower cleanup time.

          * Sorry not sorry!

          ** Reminds me of sis in law, I ended up in Essex twice in the space of a week on arriving the first Friday there's a gleaming new freshly installed loo in her council flat. On arrival the following week she drags me to the loo & proclaimed.

          "Look at the state of that! He's only had it a week!" (See Icon)!

  7. Jonathon Green

    Our space force will totally be ready to launch rockets in 2022.

    There won’t actually be any rockets until 2035, but our gallant boys in whatever-the-heck-colour will have been ready for a full 13 years when the rockets finally come rolling over the garden bridge to Boris Island Spaceport...

    1. PerlyKing Silver badge
      Happy

      Space Command uniforms

      our gallant boys in whatever-the-heck-colour

      Silver lamé would seem to be "traditional" (-:

      1. Alister

        Re: Space Command uniforms

        Silver lamé would seem to be "traditional"

        With purple wigs for the female staff?

  8. Snorlax

    Needs Must

    How else will the UK GNSS satellite constellation make it into space?

    Is GNSS still a goer, or a pipe dream?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Needs Must

      Who cares about UK GNSS - About time LOHAN got up there

      1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

        Re: Needs Must

        To be fair, she's been high for quite a while now

  9. DrStrangeLug

    Does it land?

    What idiot still builds expendable boosters these days?

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