The UK Space Agency has awarded UK-based launch services company Orbex £3.3 million under the European Space Agency’s “Boost!” initiative supporting commercial space transportation.
The funding will further Orbex’s development of the proposed spaceport in Sutherland, on Scotland’s north coast, which aims to be the world’s first carbon-neutral orbital launch complex.
The Sutherland site, named “Ultra-Green Launch Complex”, is being designed for sustainability from the ground up. Orbex intends to launch up to 12 flights per year from the spaceport for small satellite deployment once fully operational, with several commercial launch contracts already secured.
Orbex’s Prime Spaceport
The spaceport will serve as the home base for Orbex’s Prime rocket. Prime is a 19-metre micro launch vehicle that delivers small satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. Through precise engineering, Orbex claims Prime will generate zero orbital debris.
The rocket is also fueled by bio-propane, a renewable propane, reducing its carbon footprint by up to 96% compared to conventional hydrocarbon-powered orbital missiles.
Key details on the Ultra-Green Launch Complex and Orbex Prime:
- Spaceport designed for carbon-neutral construction and operations, setting a new sustainability benchmark
- Scottish location selected strategically for launching satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits
- Up to 12 commercial Orbex Prime launches per year once operational
- Prime rocket specifically engineered to eliminate debris risk in orbit
- Bio-propane fuel reduces carbon footprint by up to 96% vs traditional rockets
The funding will allow Orbex to continue the development of critical infrastructure and facilities at the Sutherland spaceport site. The complex will house vehicle assembly, launch, and control operations. Orbex stated the funding further validates its environmentally-conscious approach to providing smallsat launch services.
The UK aims to become Europe’s leading small satellite launch destination by 2030. Officials stated the investment will help expand domestic launch capabilities and create skilled jobs across the British space industry’s supply chain.
UK-based Orbex won £3.3M from the UK Space Agency and ESA to develop a new Scottish spaceport The spaceport named “Ultra-Green Launch Complex” due to its carbon-neutral design Will be home base for Orbex’s Prime rocket – optimized for small satellite deployment Prime rocket engineered to eliminate debris risk and uses renewable bio-propane fuel Funding to further Orbex’s environmentally-conscious approach to launch services Helps UK goal of becoming Europe’s top smallsat launch destination