A rocket developer aiming to launch satellites into orbit from the UK has committed its long-term future to Edinburgh.

Skyrora has signed a five-year lease on premises on Princes Street, moving its team of 15 from its current base in St Colme Street.

The first launches are confirmed to take place as early as 2021, Skyrora is on track with research and tests that will allow it to take satellites of up to 350 kilograms to orbit.

The firm said it is is aligned with the UK Government and UK Space Agency's plans to operate from a new spaceport in Scotland and aims to provide dedicated UK-based launches.

Read more: Scots rocket firm aims for first private space launch

Its commitment to the city has been welcomed by the leader of the council.

The Herald: Edinburgh City Council group leader Adam McVey. Photograph: Gordon Terris

Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council leader, above, said: "It is fantastic for the (Scottish) capital to have a business like Skyrora opt to commit its HQ here.

"As the only UK-headquartered launch provider competing to send rockets into orbit from a forthcoming UK spaceport, it is a truly exciting enterprise that will draw in lots of interest in the coming years.

"This is yet another great business providing opportunities for skilled graduates and apprentices in crucial science and tech subjects."

He added: "I wish them all the best for their office move and their continued success."

Read more: Four satellites a week to be launched from new Scottish spaceport

Skyrora will move to its new 2008 sq ft (186 sqm) office space at 108 Princes Street in the next few weeks.

The Herald:

Daniel Smith, of Skyrora, above, said: "Edinburgh is a positive tech-hub that is drawing some of the best STEM talent in the UK.

"From here we can easily reach a number of top universities, the thriving satellite tech firms in Glasgow as well as potential future launch sites in the north of the country – and of course the rest of the world from the airport.

"Our new premises will also allow us to continue growing a multi-talented team, which will yield some amazing opportunities and include some of the UK’s first true rocket-apprenticeships and graduate placements."

The move comes shortly after Skyrora initiated its first in a series of sub-orbital test launches north of the border.

Taking place at the Kildermorie Estate in Ross-shire, Skyrora successfully tested components with a nine-foot 2.5 metre rocket reaching an altitude of six kilometres.

The Skyrora XL vehicle is claimed to be on track to become the first entirely private rocket to launch into orbit from the UK, but draws parallels with the Government-backed British orbital rocket, Black Arrow, through the proven combination of kerosene and hydrogen peroxide as a fuel source, dating from around 1970.

The Edinburgh-based team is aiming to capture a share of the fast-growing small satellite launch market and has already 3D printed two separate prototype engines for testing at other UK locations this year.