Orbex seeks license to launch first rockets from Scotland

Orbex submitted his application to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for a launch license, the latest step in its roadmap to begin commercial space launches from the UK.

Orbex has already successfully completed pre-application meetings with the CAA, the UK’s new space regulator. It has now moved on to the bid stage, becoming one of the first UK launch operators to do so. The license application process is another key step in the journey that will see Orbex begin rocket launches from Sutherland Space Center in the north of Scotland.

CAA Launch License ensures operators meet regulatory requirements set by the UK Space Industry Act 2018 (AIS) and Space Industry Regulations 2021 (SIR). This legislation was recently introduced by the UK government to support its National Space Strategy.

Space Hub Sutherland is the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport and the only spaceport in the UK to have received full planning permission. Construction of the spaceport is expected to begin later this year.

Meanwhile, the Orbex’First‘rocket will soon be tested on the Orbex LP1 launch platform in a facility of Kinlossnear the Orbex headquarters in Forres, where the full “dress rehearsals” of the launch procedures will take place.

Prime is a micro-launcher designed to carry small satellites weighing around 150 kg into low Earth orbit. Is it poised to become the world’s most environmentally friendly space rocket with a carbon footprint up to 96% lower than comparable space launch programs?

Chris LarmourCEO of Orbex, said:This license application is another big step forward for Orbex, and is one of many avenues underway in parallel that will allow commercial launch operations to begin from Sutherland. The application process is rigorous and detailed, with a strong emphasis on safety. It took more than two years for a large team to carry out the investigations and analyzes necessary for the submission of the license application today. We look forward to working with the Civil Aviation Authority over the coming months to assess our application.

Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company with head office, production and test facilities in Scotland and design and test facilities in Denmark. Orbex staff members have professional experience with NASA, ESA, Ariane and several commercial spaceflight organizations. The company is now backed by two of the UK’s largest and most active venture capital funds, BGF and Octopus Ventures, joining two of Europe’s largest venture capital funds, Heartcore Capital and High-Tech Gründerfonds , as well as strategic investor Elecnor, parent company of Deimos Space, the British Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

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