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Orbex lands £40m funding for vertical rocket launch

Orbex Series C
Image credit: Orbex

British space startup Orbex has landed £40.4m in a Series C funding round led by the Scottish National Investment Bank to continue working towards vertical launch capability.

Based in Forres, Scotland, Orbex has developed a 19-metre long, two-stage rocket that’s designed to carry satellites weighing up to 180kg into the Earth’s lower orbit.

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, said: “This significant new funding round is testament to the work of that team and will allow us to continue to build Orbex towards our long-term goal of establishing a reliable, economically successful and environmentally sustainable European space launch business.”

Its Prime rocket is powered by renewable biofuel, which Orbex says will reduce its carbon footprint by up to 96% compared to fossil fuels.

The startup plans to launch from the north coast of Scotland from Space Hub Sutherland spaceport.

“We’re building a full end-to-end commercial space ecosystem in Scotland and we’re proud to play our part in this funding round, which will help deliver jobs and prosperity for the space sector and the wider economy,” said Nicola Douglas, executive director, Scottish National Investment Bank.

Investors also onboard the Orbex Series C are BGF, Heartcore Capital, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Octopus Ventures, Jacobs, The Danish Green Future Fund, Verve Ventures, Phillip Chambers and James Chambers.

Orbex is not the only Scottish space startup with the ambition to launch from UK soil – Edinburgh-based Skyrora has a self-imposed deadline of 2023.