Webinar: The Known Unknowns of Rocket Launch: Safety and Reliability Assessment

Tuesday 6th October 2020, 6:30 pm.

Speakers: Alan Thompson (Head of Government Affairs, Skyrora) and Dr Christie Maddock (Lecturer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Stratthclyde University)

Venue: Online - please register here: https://edinburgh06102020.eventbrite.co.uk/

This meeting will be preceded by the BCS Edinburgh Branch AGM at 6:15pm.


Skyrora Ltd and Strathclyde University have been collaborating in the area of trajectory analysis, in par-ticular the need to find reliable tools for trajectory and safety analysis of the suite of launch vehicles that compromise Skyrora’s iterations and de-risking approach on its journey to full space flight launch from the UK. This project provides an opportunity with direct benefits for all sides, and the sector at large, to further explore this area. The talk will describe the plans for this project..

Skyrora is a UK launch vehicle provider aiming to support the government plans for space sector growth through the development of an orbital vehicle and carefully selected supply chain innovations that we believe will reinforce the industry for years to come. Skyrora’s strategy is to take an incremental ‘step-by-step’ approach to allow for critical testing and de-risking. We utilise proven technology in combination with advanced additive manufacturing methods, taking significant inspiration from previous UK space heritage, sharing the same propellant combination as Black Arrow and utilising learnings from Skylark for our suborbital test programme. As part of Skyrora’s de-risking approach, we have developed four suborbital rockets in order to perform real-time testing of the avionics, ground control systems, payload deployment and recovery systems of the vehicles in parallel with the development of our orbital rocket.

About the speakers


Alan Thompson leads the Skyrora discussion with regulatory authorities in the UK. Previously he worked for the Russian British Chamber of Commerce promoting business links between the UK and Russia.


Dr Christie Maddock is an expert in mathematical modelling and system design optimisation for transatmospheric flight vehicles, including spaceplane-based launch systems.

Dr Maddock received her undergraduate honours degree in 2002 in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Electronics and Systems from Carleton University in Canada. Her thesis was on the design of an optical inter-satellite link for a LEO-GEO data relay satellite system. Her doctoral research was conducted at the University of Glasgow on the dynamics, navigation and control of a spacecraft formation of solar concentrators in the proximity of an asteroid.

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