The next space startup is...Orbex! Based in the UK 🇬🇧 they're developing a small orbital rocket called Prime which will use bio-propane (cutting carbon emissions by 90%) to provide reliable launch services at a fixed price.
👨🚀 FOUNDER: Chris Larmour.
💵 FUNDING: USD $39 million.
🎯 GOAL: Offer commercial launch services of nano and microsatellites, especially cube sats into polar and Sun-synchronous low Earth orbits.
🐣 HOW IT STARTED: Interestingly, Chris was part of Moonspike, which launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a three stage rocket to the Moon. That wasn't successful and Chris later came upon the idea of Orbex. It stealthily launched in 2015 and they announced in 2018 they had almost $40mm in funding. Their first rocket, Prime, is under development and due to launch in 2021.
1️⃣ Plan to launch the first UK rocket in 50 years
2️⃣ Largest 3D printed rocket engine ever built and world's most efficient smallest launcher
3️⃣ Using bio-propane as fuel which cuts emissions by 90%
🔮 FUTURE PLANS: In 2021, Orbex plan to launch their first rocket from the UK's first newly-built spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland. This spaceport means that payloads will be sent to a polar orbit (the opposite way that the Moon orbits Earth). But there are other spaceports they could launch from in future which could mean Chris' goal of launching to the Moon is achievable, so let's see what happens after 2021!
👩🚀 SPACE EXPLORATION: Being the largest 3D printed rocket engine makes it more durable during launch and reentry. This helps with reusability (which Orbex have plans for) and will hopefully reduce costs to launch! The interesting thing is, though we won't see Orbex launching any payloads to the Moon from this spaceport, they do plan to launch from others in Europe in future. Because of the environmentally friendly fuel and materials used, it would be cool to see Orbex take part in launching human or robotic spacecraft to the Moon or beyond. That would be a good message to send!
💬 What do you think? Let me know in the comments!