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Scotland’s Orbex seeks rocket launch licence

February 4, 2022

Orbex, based at Sutherland’s Space Hub, says it has made a successful submission for its launch licence to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“Orbex has already successfully completed pre-application meetings with the CAA, the UK’s new space regulator. It has now progressed to the application stage, becoming one of the first UK launch operators to do so. The licence application process is another key milestone in the journey that will see Orbex begin rocket launches from Space Hub Sutherland in the North of Scotland,” says the company.

Space Hub Sutherland is the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport and the only spaceport in the UK to have received full planning permission. Construction of the spaceport is due to begin later this year.

Meanwhile, the Orbex ‘Prime’ rocket is soon to be tested on the Orbex LP1 launch platform at a facility in Kinloss, close to the Orbex headquarters in Forres, where full ‘dress rehearsals’ of launch procedures will take place.

The Orbex Prime satellite mini-launcher is designed to transport small satellites weighing around 150kg to low Earth orbit.

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, said: “This licence application is another big step forward for Orbex, and is one of several tracks running in parallel that will enable commercial launch operations to commence from Sutherland. The application process is rigorous and detailed, with a strong focus on safety. It has taken a large team more than two years to complete the investigations and analysis required to submit the license application today. We are looking forward to working with the Civil Aviation Authority over the coming months as they assess our application.”

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