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Astraius, Northrop Grumman partner for Prestwick launch

July 19, 2022

Astraius, the UK-based, horizontal launch company, has announced two key suppliers for its launch solution. Northrop Grumman has been selected as the first and second stage motor supplier, and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor. Astraius is on-track for first launch in Spring 2024.

The announcement received the support of the UK Space Agency at the Farnborough International Air Show.

Northrop Grumman’s Orion solid rocket motors will boost the Astraius launch vehicle after its extraction from the unmodified C-17 carrier aircraft. Completing the mission, Exquadrum’s Astraius upper stage will precisely place satellites in their intended orbits.

Sir George Zambellas, Astraius Chairman, said:“This is a hugely exciting moment for Astraius. We have a winning combination of proven launch and propulsion systems paired with exquisite rocket motor technology to produce a world-class capability. When coupled with Prestwick Spaceport’s state-of-the-art launch vehicle and payload integration facilities, Scotland will be the UK’s leader for responsive space launch.”

Kevin Seymour, Astraius CEO, added: “I am thrilled that Northrop Grumman will play a major role in our programme. Their long record of flight success and clear enthusiasm for what we’re doing gives us absolute confidence we’ve made the right decision. Northrop Grumman’s motors are key enablers for our industry-leading, low risk, responsive, horizontal launch capability.”

Kevin Mahaffy, Exquadrum CEO, attending Farnborough for the announcement, commented: “Exquadrum is excited to be part of the outstanding team that Astraius has put together to bring their unique horizontal launch vehicle to the market. Exquadrum’s controllable solid rocket motor technology, with its throttlability and precise termination ability, is an excellent fit for Astraius’ upper stage application.”

Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:  “It is great to see these exciting new collaborations and this major milestone towards horizontal launch at Prestwick Spaceport with Astraius. Scotland’s space sector is booming and this partnership demonstrates the growing launch market, which will create jobs and opportunities across the UK and attract international investment.”

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