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by Sofia Villegas
18 April 2024
Scottish space firm secures multi-million pound funding for ‘critical’ development

Orbex's Prime rocket | UKSA

Scottish space firm secures multi-million pound funding for ‘critical’ development

Scottish rocket manufacturer Orbex has received £16.7m from six investors to help ramp up work on its flagship rocket. 

The cash injection will help the development of Prime, a 19-metre long, two-stage rocket designed to transport small satellites into low Earth orbit. The firm plans to launch 12 of these rockets annually from its spaceport in Sutherland – set to open later this year.  

The new investments will add to the firm's Series C funding of £40.5m, secured in 2022.

Investors include £10.5m follow-on funding from the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), with the remaining capital coming from Octopus Ventures, BGF, Heartcore, the Export & Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO) and others. 

The announcement comes after a shift in the firm’s leadership, with scale-up expert Phillip Chambers and the former Director General of the Spanish Space Agency, Miguel Belló Mora, joining the team in January. 

Chambers, who joined as chief executive, said: “Orbex is one of only two space rocket manufacturers in the UK, and the only one to also operate its own spaceport. Our technology is pivotal in making the UK a hub for European orbital launches, and we are entering a critical phase of development. 

“We are building a sustainable, cost-effective launch vehicle to compete with the best of Europe’s spaceflight manufacturers. This additional funding will support our goal to push on into an operational launch phase, and scale our business when the time comes.”

Orbex currently has two active patents across Europe and the US, covering various parts of its rocket technology. All powered by renewable biofuel, producing significantly less carbon emissions than similar rockets being currently developed across the world. 

Nicola Douglas, executive director of innovation at the SNIB, said: “The bank recognises the unique potential the space industry offers for Scotland. We are perfectly placed to leverage our geographical location, vibrant business and innovation landscape, and our skilled workers to be one of the most significant global players in this growing industry.”

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