UK launch providers Orbex and Skyrora get £8.5 million boost from ESA

by | Mar 25, 2021 | ESA, Technology

Nascent Scotland-based small launch providers Orbex and Skyrora,have received £8.5 million IN funding under the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Boost! initiative to develop their launch technologies and help bring their rockets to operational status.

Prime rocket’s prototype upper stage. Courtesy: Orbex

Orbex, an orbital launch services company based in Forres near Inverness, has been awarded over £6 million, the largest Boost! award so far, to support development of their bio-propane based Prime launch vehicle which will launch small satellites into orbit from Space Hub Sutherland in 2023.

Skyrora has received £2.5 million to complete the development of their Skyrora XL small launch vehicle. The vehicle is on course to be test-launched in 2022 from an as yet selected UK space launch site.

The UK invested £12 million into the Boost! programme in 2019, one of the largest investments from ESA member states.  And hence, under the “just retour” principle the UK’s launch industry receives a major portion of this funding back.  The funding will also enable Skyrora and Orbex to benefit from ESA’s pioneering facilities, technical teams and business networks.

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