SCOTTISH rocket company Skyrora has launched its own online merchandise store with all profits going towards activities to support the next generation of UK space experts.
Since starting up the online store four months ago, the company has generated a global interest with 40% of sales coming from outside the UK.
While already committed to an active science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) programme, Skyrora – which aims to be the first UK company to launch satellites from Europe – will use the profits to further its work in sponsoring and supporting students to develop a career in the space sector.
The merchandise on offer includes clothing and accessories such as Skyrora branded hoodies and commemorative mission patches from recent test launches. The collection also features a t-shirt designed by merchandise design competition winner, Cameron Martin.
Katie Miller, Project Manager with Skyrora, said: “The vision behind opening the merchandise store was to enable our audience to be a part of the developmental journey towards our launch capability.
“We designed the products to be as affordable as possible so that everyone can feel like part of the team. An added bonus is that we can support STEM activities from the profits too.
“While our STEM programme has been ongoing for a while now, the income generated through the merchandise store means we can do more to support and inspire the younger generation.
“At Skyrora, we realise how important it is to nurture young minds. Through our STEM programme and graduate intake, we encourage budding scientists, engineers and explorers to realise their potential and to be inspired by space.”
Headquartered in Edinburgh, Skyrora is currently ahead of any other UK launch company with its technological readiness, evidenced by four launches of its sounding rockets and static fire tests of its suborbital vehicle and third stage of the orbital launch vehicle.
The merchandise store – available here – has been a big hit with space fans, with some items selling out within the first few weeks.
Katie added: “We’ve even had people visiting our HQ in the past specifically looking for t-shirts and other merchandise. It’s been a great response so far.
“Our most popular item is our black hoodie with the Skyrora logo and Scotland flag along with our mission patches created by winners of our mission patch competition. The hoodie actually sold out and has recently been restocked.”
While the current collection is predominantly black and white, in keeping with Skyrora’s brand colours, the next phase which is due to be released in summer 2021, will incorporate a new collection featuring fleeces, jackets, remove before launch tags and much more.
All merchandise is packaged in carefully researched, eco-friendly packaging, reflecting Skyrora’s commitment to being as green as possible in all elements of operations.
Katie added: “A core value at Skyrora is to demonstrate an awareness and a care for the environment which our activities impact. We have invested a huge amount of time and resources to ensure that our products and packaging are as environmentally friendly as possible.
From the cardboard packaging the merchandise comes in, to the string that ties the tags to the clothing products, every component has been carefully researched.”
The company recently demonstrated its commitment to wider sustainability after conducting successful trials of a ‘Space Tug’ which will play a key part in ensuring the UK becomes a world leader in tackling the issue of space junk, clearing space debris, repositioning satellites, and removing defunct satellites from orbit.
The launch of the merchandise store coincides with a number of recent successes for Skyrora. The company recently secured €3M funding from the European Space Agency, which will be used to complete Skyrora’s XL programme to deliver consistent orbital launches from the UK.
Skyrora XL is a 23-metre, 56-tonne, three-stage rocket capable of carrying up to 315kg into orbit. The vehicle is on course to be test launched in 2022 from a UK spaceport and the project is set to generate 170 high-skilled jobs.
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