UK’s Only Orbital Rocket Makes Debut South of the Border

by Izzy Stiven

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Satellite Developer Displays UK’s Rocket at World’s Largest Military Air Show

The only UK-developed rocket to reach space and place a satellite into orbit will make its first appearance in England this weekend (19 – 21 July) at the world’s largest military air show. Tech PR in action

THE ONLY UK-developed rocket to reach space and place a satellite into orbit will make its first appearance in England this weekend (19 – 21 July) at the world’s largest military air show.


Black Arrow (R3) rocket is set to be displayed at the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford – just 92 miles from its programme’s original test site on the Isle of Wight.


The rocket was brought home from its landing site in the Australian Outback earlier this year by fast-moving rocket developer, Skyrora, almost half a century since its launch.


Completing four rockets between 1969 and 1971, Black Arrow’s third flight marks the only successful UK-led launch and serves as a representation of the UK’s potential in the new global space race.


The theme of this year’s RIAT, ‘Air & Space: Inspiring the Next Generation Air Force’, will see the three-day event focus on the Britain’s growing space sector. Major Tim Peake – the first UK astronaut to visit the Space Station – is also set to attend.


Vladimir Levykin, CEO at Skyrora, said: “Black Arrow represents an integral part of Britain’s space legacy and so it seems only fitting that it be displayed at this year’s RIAT.


“Even 50 years since its original launch, Black Arrow acts as a reminder of what has been accomplished before – and an inspiration of what the new UK commercial space race is capable of.


“The team at Skyrora are strong believers that as we navigate this new and exciting time in the UK space industry, it’s important to reflect on and learn from our previous successes.


“Consequently, our engine systems are inspired by Black Arrow’s proven technology.”

The Skyrora team pictured in a tech PR photo at their Edinburgh headquarters. Credit Ivon Bartholomew

Recognising the parallels between Black Arrow and Skyrora’s own future orbital launch vehicles – which use the same HTP propellant combination – the firm transported the rocket 10,000 miles across land and sea to inspire the next stage of the UK space race.


Black Arrow’s groundbreaking technology is evidenced by the rocket’s successful orbital launch in 1969, with its sophisticated engineering far ahead of its time. Skyrora hopes to celebrate the programme’s innovation by displaying Black Arrow at events such as the RIAT.

Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive of RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, organiser of the event, said: “As well as welcoming air arms from around the world, we plan to demonstrate, through engaging and interactive displays, how space technology is being deployed and how it is helping counter threats to our everyday lives.


“Our focus on space will be particularly poignant as the 2019 airshow will take place on exactly the same day, 50 years ago that the first Moon landing took place – on July 20 1969.”


Committed to inspiring the future generation, Skyrora has signed up to the STEM Ambassador Programme and visits schools across the country to teach students about science and engineering, as well as helping a group offer 250 Welsh Brownie’s earn their ‘space badge’ earlier this year.


Katie Miller, Skyrora STEM Ambassador, said: “Inspiring the younger generation is a serious and important job at Skyrora – we are essentially unlocking the future of the UK Space generation.


“Skyrora is delighted that the UK government has invested seriously into STEM.


Skyrora is currently looking for locations across the UK for its upcoming three launches. Two of the three launches will be capable of reaching the edge of space, a feat never accomplished by a private company launching from the UK before.


The firm aims to complete the inaugural launch of its Skyrora XL vehicle from a British spaceport by 2022, using technology similar to that of the Black Arrow’s launch over 50 years ago.


Katie added: “RIAT gives the UK space industry a great opportunity to participate in the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. By bringing Black Arrow to the party we hope to help raise awareness of the UK’s once world-leading space programme that Skyrora is seeking to revitalize.”

Why not let our team of tech-savvy communicators share the stories of your business?

Getting in touch couldn’t be easier. Simply give us a call on 0131 561 2244 or take a few seconds to fill in the form below and one of the team will get straight back to you:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Izzy Stiven is a member of the expert PR team at Edinburgh public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Scotland

Private: Izzy Stiven

Account Executive, Izzy Stiven is part of the multi-award-winning PR team at Holyrood PR, a leading Scottish PR agency

View Private:'s Profile

Related Posts

So how can we help?

Meet the team

Meet the team

Our people

Meet the people who make Holyrood PR what it is, and get an insight into what makes them tick

Make an impact with PR photography

Make an impact with PR photography

Find out more

Every story can be told better with pictures. Discover our affordable, high-impact photo packages.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.


Keep ahead of your opposition by getting the free tips, insights and secrets we share for businesses. Straight to your inbox, every month.
Email address
First Name
Last Name