Skyrora launch operator Assessment of Environmental Effects

Closed 9 Jul 2024

Opened 11 Jun 2024


To carry out spaceflight activity in the UK spaceport and launch operators must be licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

As part of their licence application, spaceport and launch operators are required to submit an Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). The purpose of the AEE is to ensure applicants have adequately considered any potential environmental effects of their intended activities and, if necessary have taken steps to avoid, mitigate or offset the risks and their potential effects.

Skyrora are applying for a launch operator licence. This consultation sets out their AEE: Skyrora SaxaVord AEE V5

The proposals are for Skyrora to undertake up to 16 launches per year from SaxaVord Spaceport, located on the northeast of Unst, Shetland Islands. All launches will take place in a northerly direction over the sea. The launch system, assessed for the purposes of the AEE, consists of the preparation and vertical launch of the sub-orbital Skyrora Skylark L and orbital Skyrora XL launch vehicles. The Skyrora Skylark L is an 11.6 m long (approximately), guided suborbital launch vehicle powered by a single pressure fed, bi-liquid propellant engine. The Skyrora XL is a 24 m long and 2.2 metres diameter (approximately), three-stage liquid fuelled orbital launch vehicle intended to place customer payloads into sun synchronous or polar orbits.

For spaceport and launch operator licenses the CAA must take into account the applicant’s assessments and the proposed measures to mitigate any significant environmental effects before a recommendation for approval can be granted.

More information on the CAA’s approach to public consultation can be found by reading the following guidance document (CAP2352). 

Why your views matter

We encourage you to share any feedback on the AEE, including any potential effects on you and your local environment.

In your comments, please consider the following: 

  • the identified environmental effects and the assessment of these effects
  • if proposed mitigation methods are appropriate or where further mitigations may be required
  • any gaps, improvements, or corrections to the AEE.

We will consider comments received when deciding whether to grant the licence and any relevant licence conditions. Following the outcome of our assessment, we will publish information on our final decisions and associated reasoning related to the AEE.


  • Residents affected by aviation
  • Organisations affected by aviation
  • Community groups


  • Spaceflight