Space funding

Orbex raises £40m for Highlands rocket launch

Orbex rocket
Orbex plans a launch next year

Orbex, the Scottish rocket company, has raised £40.4 million towards its planned Highlands launch.

Backers in the Series C funding are the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), Jacobs, The Danish Green Future Fund, Verve Ventures, Phillip and James Chambers, BGF, Heartcore Capital, High-Tech Gründerfonds and Octopus Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to scale up its resources as it counts down to the first vertical launch from UK soil, as well as to attract additional funding to support future projects.

Led by CEO Chris Larmour, Orbex has its headquarters, production and testing facilities in Forres, and design and testing facilities in Denmark.

Orbex recently revealed its “Prime” rocket in its final form. Prime is a 19-metre long, two-stage rocket designed to transport small satellites weighing up to 180kg into low Earth orbit. The rocket will launch from the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport near Tongue on the north coast of Scotland next year.

The company is currently performing a wide variety of integration tests, including the testing of the main propellant tanks and engines, as well as testing launch procedures.

Orbex has won more than a dozen R&D contracts from a wide variety of bodies, including the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme.

SNIB executive director Nicola Douglas said: “This is a very exciting time for the Scottish space sector.

“With Orbex, we will have a rocket assembled in Scotland, launching from Scotland and likely transporting satellites built in Scotland into orbit.

“This investment is a great example of the bank working with other investors to support scale-ups in Scotland and aligns with our mission to invest in innovation and the industries of the future.”

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