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Orbex secures £40.4 million investment as it prepares for Space Hub Sutherland launch

By Caroline McMorran

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Spaceflight firm Orbex, which will be the principal user of Space Hub Sutherland when it is operational, has announced it has received a large injection of funding from new and existing investors.

The firm, which has a base in Forres, has secured £40.4 million in its latest ‘Series C’ fundraising round – fundraising rounds provide outside investors the opportunity to invest cash in a growing company.

Orbex is currently conducting tests on its Prime rocket, seen here at Kinloss.
Orbex is currently conducting tests on its Prime rocket, seen here at Kinloss.

The new round of funding will allow the company to scale up its resources as it counts down to the first vertical launch from UK soil, as well as unlocking additional funding to support future projects.

New investors who have come on board include the Scottish National Investment Bank, Jacobs, the Danish Green Future Fund and Verve Ventures.

And continuing to back Orbex are existing investors BGF, Heartcore Capital, High-Tech Grunderfonds and Octopus Ventures.

Orbex recently revealed its 19-metre long Prime rocket which has been designed to transport small satellites weighing up to 180kg into low Earth orbit.

The company, which applied for a space launch licence from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority earlier this year, is currently performing a wide variety of integration tests, including the testing of the main propellant tanks and engines, as well as testing launch procedures.

Prime rockets will be launched from Space Hub Sutherland, which is earmarked to be developed on a site near Tongue.

Orbex chief executive Chris Larmour said: “We´re delighted to have closed this new funding round led by the Scottish National Investment Bank. Orbex has made significant progress to get to this point, with the invention of groundbreaking, innovative technology, the rapid development and testing of the launch vehicle, the expansion of our manufacturing footprint in the UK and Denmark, the creation of the UK´s first orbital spaceport in mainland Scotland, and the growth in customers from the UK, Europe and America signing up to launch dedicated payloads with Orbex."

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is developing the £17.3 million Space Hub Sutherland, said the success of the fundraising round was a clear demonstration of “investor confidence in the business as a leading player in the Scottish space sector”.

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