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UK spaceflight company Orbex expands facilities

Professional Engineering

Orbex Prime rocket at Kinloss test stand. Courtesy of Orbex
Orbex Prime rocket at Kinloss test stand. Courtesy of Orbex

Orbex, the UK-based spaceflight company, is adding 1500 square metres of factory and office space as it prepares for the UK mainland's first vertical rocket launch.

The additional space, which is just 3km from the company's existing facility at Kinloss in Scotland, will be used to increase production on the company's launch vehicle production and propulsion systems. Orbex will also add an extra software laboratory and an avionics cleanroom. 

The company's flagship project is Prime, a 19-metre long rocket designed for launching small satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. It has announced commercial launch contracts with several satellites manufacturers, and in the last quarter of 2022 it secured £40.4m of Series C funding. 

“Many people are eager to see the first successful launch of a satellite from British soil, as are we," says Orbex CEO Martin Coates. "But our focus has to be bigger than that, as we aim to build a robust and sustainable launch capability in the UK. Expanding our footprint is just one more step forward in that process. We are able to press ahead with our expansion, thanks to the incredible team we have in place and the confidence placed in us by our investors and customers.”

Orbex is also developing the Sutherland Spaceport, on Scotland's north coast, and was awarded £5.5m in 2018 by the UK Space Agency to develop Scotland's space industry. “Orbex is an important partner in our ambitions to become the leading provider of small satellite launch in Europe by 2030, and the company’s significant progress is a clear example of how our funding is catalysing further investment and creating high-skilled jobs," says Matt Archer, Launch Director at UK Space Agency. “It’s great to see Orbex expanding its footprint and creating state-of-the art facilities here in the UK, as we look ahead to the first vertical launches from Scotland.” 

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