London, 21 June 2017 – Welcoming the UK’s focus on low-cost, reliable commercial spaceflight activities in today’s Queens’s Speech, a UK company has revealed details of a 1200m2 space rocket factory currently building vertical launch vehicles that will be launched into orbit from the UK.
Orbex has kept development under wraps over the past two years, but has been making rapid progress in private, while also keeping regulatory authorities fully informed. “We’ve already built ignition systems, main engines, avionics and cryotanks at our existing factory and have recently completed a series of main engine hot fire tests at our own engine test site,” said Kristian von Bengtson, Orbex CTO. “Our engineering team has experience of building several rocket engines and launch vehicles, many of them with backgrounds working at NASA and ESA, which is a set of skills that gives us a very strong competitive advantage against global competition,” he added.
The UK’s focus on orbital launch of small satellites is a perfect match for the Orbex vertical launcher, which has been specifically designed to transport small satellites into low Earth orbit from the UK. A UK-based vertical launch capability also completes the end-end value chain in the UK, which already has a very strong satellite manufacturing sector. Vertical launchers are the industry standard, used by all major nations and spaceflight companies for efficiency and cost effectiveness. The Spaceflight Bill first published earlier in 2017 and confirmed in today’s Queen’s Speech reinforces the UK’s commitment to creating a native vertical launch capability.
Orbex recently demonstrated its rocket engine technology to 450 investors during a major venture capital conference in Germany, as well as presenting privately during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget this week. Orbex has also recently made several new hires from the UK aerospace sector to work on launch vehicle avionics subsystems.
Orbex is a European space launch company focusing exclusively on the needs of small satellite developers and operators. Orbex will launch small, micro and nano satellites into accurate low Earth orbits, regularly, on time and at a competitive fixed price. Orbex develops and launches space vehicles from within Europe, servicing launch customers globally, and recently completed main engine hot fire tests.