Launch arranger/broker Innovative Space Logistics (ISL) and UK-based orbital launch services provider Orbex has signed a wide-ranging technical Cooperation Agreement at the Small Satellites Conference in Logan, Utah. As part of the agreement, ISL will also procure orbital space launches from Orbex using its Prime rocket for a number of its smallsat customer missions in order to provide a turn-key like offering. This agreement adds to Orbex launch bookings already held for SSTL, Astrocast and, via a cooperative agreement, with Elecnor Deimos.
The flights will be from the new Sutherland Space Port in Scotland. Orbex’s funding partner, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) confirmed that it had signed a 75-year lease option with landowners, the Melness Crofters Estate, to build and operate a spaceport on its land.
However, there was even better news for the Orbex firm. It received an actual launch order to launch the 80 kg Faraday 2B technology test satellite for In-Space Missions. The launch will take place in 2022.
In February 2019, Orbex publicly unveiled the engineering prototype of the Stage 2 of its reusable Prime launch vehicle, a dedicated smallsat launcher, which it claims is up to 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than any other vehicle in the micro launcher category. Orbex Prime utilizes bio-propane, a clean-burning, renewable fuel that cuts carbon emissions by 90 percent compared to traditional hydrocarbon fuels. Under current plans, first flight of this launch vehicle will take place in late 2021.