Space investment

Avionics firm raises funds for low-cost rocket system

Rocket boost: Rowland Fraser and Oren Smith-Carpenter

A company developing an electrical system for the space sector has received £320,000 to help it develop a cost-efficient ‘off the shelf’ product.

Aurora Avionics specialises in producing a guidance system for rockets and aims to break into a market in which launch vehicle manufacturers are investing vast sums creating their own.

The company secured the funding from Gabriel Investment Syndicate and Scottish Enterprise which will enable it to ramp up its research & design into a lower-cost alternative.

Earlier funding came from the European Space Agency (ESA) which supported its move to a research laboratory at Edinburgh’s Royal Observatory.

Chief executive Oren Smith-Carpenter, 23, co-founded Aurora with fellow engineer and former Orbex colleague Rowland Fraser, 49, the firm’s chief technical officer.   

Mr Smith-Carpenter said: “We are in the midst of the second space race with rocket developers on the cusp of launching from UK soil.

“Every firm is trying to grapple with complex and costly avionics to allow them to launch and control their vehicles, and to ultimately place satellites into specific orbits.

“We want to revolutionise this hugely wasteful process – and enable launch vehicle manufacturers to launch rockets promptly and inexpensively using our modular and reliable systems.”

With the recent investment, the firm is regularly testing components and is on track to have a full prototype system ready for testing within a year. 

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