Launchapalooza: 26 New Boosters Debuting Worldwide

Vega-C lifts off on its maiden flight on July 13, 2022. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

During the first seven months of the year, five new satellite launch vehicles from Europe, China, Russia and South Korea flew successfully for the first time. As impressive as that is, it was a mere opening act to a busy period that could see at least 20 additional launchers debut around the world.

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UK Company Orbex Reveals Micro-Launcher Rocket

Prime rocket prototype (Credit: Orbex)

KINLOSS, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency has welcomed news that the British rocket company Orbex has unveiled the first full-scale prototype of its Prime orbital space rocket.

Orbex’s Prime rocket reaching technical readiness represents a significant achievement that brings together key elements of the ground infrastructure and prototype launch vehicle for the first time and is a major step forward for the company and for the UK launch industry.

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Orbex and FORCE Technology Win ESA Contract to Develop Advanced Rocket Engine Testing

New X-Ray Inspection System will ensure reliability and safety of Orbex rocket engines

FORRES, UK, March 22, 2022 (Orbex PR) – Orbex and FORCE Technology have been awarded a new contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to further develop an X-Ray Inspection System for rocket engines.

The system will enable the two firms to carry out non-destructive, high-energy X-ray inspections of Orbex’s large-scale 3D-printed rocket engines prior to flight, using advanced technology to eliminate any internal flaws. It will become a key component of the Orbex engine testing regime, reinforcing the reliability and safety credentials of the Orbex ‘Prime’ rocket.

The award is the sixth development contract that Orbex has received from the ESA. It will work closely with FORCE Technology to develop the technology – and will become one of the first launch operators to use it.

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Space Sector Set to Create New Jobs in Highland and Moray

Space Hub Sutherland (Credit: Highlands and Islands Enterprise)

INVERNESS, Scotland (Highlands and Islands Enterprise PR) — Ambitious plans to create hundreds of high quality jobs and business opportunities by developing a North Highland and Moray ‘space cluster’ have received a £38,000 [USD $51,672] boost from the UK Space Agency.

strategy to develop the cluster, funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), was published last September by Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership.

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Search is on for Young Space Entrepreneurs Ahead of First UK Rocket Launches

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Young people have the chance to a share of £50,000 and expert advice for their ideas on how satellites could improve life on Earth, in a competition run by the UK Space Agency.

With Britain’s first satellite launches set to take place this year, the SatelLife Competition is looking for the best new ideas for how to use data collected from space to benefit daily life, from supporting local communities and the NHS, to monitoring the environment and tackling climate change.

The competition is now in its fifth year, with previous winning ideas including drones carrying medical supplies, a pin badge to monitor air pollution and an app to track abandoned shopping trolleys.

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UK Space Agency Gives Financial Boost to Space Clusters

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Ten space clusters across the UK have been given a boost, thanks to new UK Space Agency funding.

These regional hubs, known as space clusters, will support new and growing companies, building on local expertise and catalysing investment into the space sector.

Over £600,000 [US $812,267] will go towards supporting activities that create jobs and growth, including recruiting space cluster managers, to strengthen local space sector leadership groups and developing new business opportunities.

The funding comes as the Government is set to unveil its flagship Levelling Up White Paper later today (2 February 2022), setting out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

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Orbex Applies for Licence to Launch First Rockets from Scotland

Prime rocket launch from Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: Orbex/Anders Bøggild)

FORRES, UK, 3 February 2022 (Orbex PR)  – Orbex has submitted its application to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a launch licence, the latest stage on its roadmap to beginning commercial space launches from the UK.

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Orbex Begins Construction of New Rocket Launchpad in the UK

Launch complex (Credit: Orbex)

FORRES, UK, December 9, 2021 (Orbex PR) – Orbex, Europe’s leading private small satellite launch services provider, has today announced it has started construction of its first state-of-the-art Launch Platform, the first orbital space launchpad to be built in the UK for more than half a century.

Orbex has commissioned Motive Offshore Group, a leading Scottish company specialising in the design and manufacture of marine and lifting equipment, to fabricate and install the Launch Platform at a dedicated test site near Kinloss, close to the Orbex headquarters in Forres, Scotland.

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Orbex Set to Launch World’s Most Environmentally Friendly Space Rocket

Prime rocket launch from Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: Orbex/Anders Bøggild)
  • New scientific study confirms Orbex Prime’s carbon footprint up to 96 per cent lower than fossil fuelled alternatives
  • Orbex commits to offsetting all residual carbon emissions from launch operations

FORRES, UK, October 21, 2021 – The carbon footprint of launching the new Orbex Prime space rocket will be up to 96 per cent lower than comparable space launch programmes, a new scientific study has revealed.

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Scottish Billionaire Ends Legal Challenge to Space Hub Sutherland

Sutherland launch complex. (Credit: HIE)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Space Hub Sutherland in Scotland can move forward without a legal challenge now that billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen has decided to abandon his fight against the launch complex planned for A’Mhoine peninsula. The richest man in Scotland had challenged the plans over concerns about its environmental impact, but lost in court last month.

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ESA Provides €10.45 Million to Support Orbex & Skyrora Launch Vehicle Development

Skyrora XL lifts off the launch pad. (Credit: Skyrora)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As part of its Boost! programme, ESA has signed two new contracts which support UK-based Orbex and Skyrora in their separate proposals for new commercial launch services for small satellites. These services are set to start in the UK from 2022.

ESA has awarded €7.45 million [£6.42 million/$8.11 million] of co-funding to Orbex and its partners, and €3 million [£2.59 million/$3.55 million] to Skyrora.

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Orbex Commissions Largest Industrial 3D Printer in Europe for Rapid Rocket Building

FORRES, UK (Orbex PR) — Orbex has commissioned AMCM to build the largest industrial 3D printer in Europe, allowing the innovative UK-based space launch company to rapidly print complex rocket engines in-house. The custom-made, large volume 3D printer will allow Orbex to print more than 35 large-scale rocket engine and main stage turbopump systems annually, as the company scales up its production capabilities for launches.

The multi-million pound deal was signed with AMCM, following a series of successful trials printing various large-scale rocket components over a number of months. AMCM will deliver a complete printing suite with post-processing machinery and ‘Machine Vision’ systems, providing automatic imaging-based inspection of printed components. To accommodate the new machinery, Orbex is expanding its factory floor space by an additional 1,000 m².

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Space Hub Sutherland Application Submitted to Scottish Land Court

Space Hub Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: HIE)

INVERNESS, Scotland (HIE PR) — Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is applying to the Scottish Land Court for consent to build, operate and, ultimately, decommission Space Hub Sutherland on a crofting estate on the A’Mhoine peninsula.

The spaceport plans have already received planning approval from the Highland Council, with up to 12 launches a year permitted.

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Space Hub Sutherland Wins Final Approval

Space Hub Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: HIE)

INVERNESS, Scotland (HIE PR) — Ambitious plans to launch satellites into orbit from the north Highlands of Scotland have been approved by the area’s local authority.

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) intends to create Space Hub Sutherland on land owned by Melness Crofters Estate on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, south of Tongue.

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Orbex Hails Sutherland Spaceport Approval

Prime rocket launch from Sutherland spaceport. (Credit: Orbex/Anders Bøggild)

FORRES, UK (Orbex PR) – The first orbital spaceflight from the United Kingdom has come a step closer following the Highland Council’s decision to give the go-ahead for the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport.

Orbex, the UK-based space launch company, has confirmed that Orbex Prime will be the first vertical launch vehicle to fly into orbit from the Space Hub, which will be constructed near Melness on the northern coast of Scotland. Orbex today confirmed the company has already signed six launch contracts.

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