In-Space selects Orbex for Scottish launch in 2022
(7 August 2019 - Orbex) In-Space Missions announced today that it will partner with Orbex, a UK-based orbital launch services company, to launch the Faraday-2b satellite from Scotland in 2022.
Faraday-2b will be the largest of In-Space’s commercial Early Service/In-Orbit Demonstrator (IOD) missions to date. Its space-as-a-service Faraday missions provide ultra-low-cost access to space for customers needing to demonstrate new services and technologies with the potential to move into an operational phase. In-Space is currently manifesting payloads for this mission, whereby multiple organizations will share up to an expected 45kg payload on a single 80kg satellite. The company’s first mission, Faraday-1 will launch later in 2019.
With $40 million in project financing, Orbex is the best-funded European private launch provider. In February 2019, Orbex publicly unveiled the engineering prototype of the Stage 2 of its Prime launch vehicle, a dedicated smallsat launcher, which 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.
The Faraday-2b satellite will be launched from what is expected to be continental Europe’s first spaceport, Space Hub Sutherland, in the A’Mhoine peninsula in the Scottish Highlands. On August 1, 2019, Orbex’s partner, 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. This critical development opens the path for the UK and Europe’s first sovereign vertical launch capability.
“Traditional rideshares on a larger vehicle create a level of schedule uncertainty that can kill small space missions,” said Doug Liddle, CEO of In-Space. “For our Faraday service to thrive, we need the commercial and technical innovation that we have seen in Orbex, combined with the efficiency of a European launch site. Orbex is one of the most innovative NewSpace companies in Europe and in partnership with them, we are able to deliver a turnkey service to customers that is miles ahead of the competition.”
“This is a dynamic time for the UK and European commercial space industry, and we're very excited to be able to support the In-Space Early Service missions, which are providing highly agile orbital access for a host of new space services and technologies," said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex. “In-Space’s commercial IOD capability is one more critical competence that will be available to customers within continental Europe. With the positive progress being made with Space Hub Sutherland and now, In-Space signing as Orbex’s fourth customer, satellite owners can see that Scottish launches are fast becoming a commercial reality.”
Founded in 2015, In-Space’s primary mission is the collaborative development of new space businesses, making maximum use of in-orbit demonstration. In-Space also provides consultancy to new space and traditional space companies, institutions and government. In-Space has worked with more than 30 organisations since its inception.
Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company with headquarters and production facilities in Forres, Scotland, and design facilities in Denmark. Orbex staff members have professional backgrounds with NASA, ESA and several commercial spaceflight organisations. The company is funded by two of Europe's largest venture capital funds, Heartcore Capital and the High-Tech Gründerfonds, as well as strategic investor Elecnor Deimos Space, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission Horizon 2020 program.