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Orbex Wins UKSA Funding under ESA Boost Initiative

Orbex Prime on launch pad. Credit: Orbex
Orbex Prime on the launch pad. Credit: Orbex

Ibadan, 14 December 2023. – UK-based orbital launch services company, Orbex, has won £3.3 million in funding from the UK Space Agency as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) “Boost!” initiative. The initiative, which is part of ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support program, aims to further the development of world-leading space launch technologies.

Orbex will use the funding towards building its Ultra-Green Launch Complex at Sutherland Spaceport, on the north coast of Scotland. The Company is designing the spaceport with regard to sustainability and intends it to be the first spaceport globally to be carbon-neutral in its construction and operation. The site will consequently see the launch of up to 12 orbital rockets per year, with several commercial launch contracts with satellite manufacturers already in place.

Sustainability is also a core driver in the design of the Company’s low-carbon micro-launcher, Orbex Prime. Prime is a 19-meter-long rocket that will launch small satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. It has undergone careful engineering to leave zero debris in orbit and is fueled by a renewable form of propane (bio-propane). This means it has a carbon footprint up to 96% lower than traditional satellite launch vehicles that use fossil fuels.

Commenting on the funding, Orbex CEO, Martin Coates, said, “Receiving this funding is further validation of our commitment to delivering low-carbon, high-performance space launch services in a way that respects the environment. The development of the Ultra-Green Launch Complex at Sutherland Spaceport is a critical step in this journey, and this support will enable us to continue working toward our ultimate goal of making the UK a central hub for European space flight.”

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