Orbex secures new investment for rocket ‘ramp up’ period

The Scottish spaceflight company has raised £16.7 million to develop its Prime rocket, designed to transport small satellites into Low Earth Orbit.

18 April 2024

The UK spaceflight company Orbex has received £16.7 million from a consortium of investors, including BGF, in an update to its Series C funding round. The funding takes the total funds raised by the business to £102 million.

With pre-launch testing underway, the funding will help Orbex ramp up the development of Prime, its 19-metre long, two-stage rocket designed to transport small satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The aim is to ensure full readiness and scalability for its launch period.

Orbex now has two active patents in a number of European countries and the US, covering various parts of its rocket technology. It is powered by a renewable biofuel, which allows the rocket to reduce carbon emissions significantly compared to other similarly sized rockets being developed elsewhere around the world.

The round was led by Scottish National Investment Bank, which has provided £10.5 million of follow-on investment, with additional support from BGF, Octopus Ventures, Heartcore, the Export & Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), and a number of corporate and angel investors.

The funding injection comes after scale-up expert Phillip Chambers and former Director General of the Spanish Space Agency Miguel Belló Mora joined to form a new leadership team in January. Chambers himself became an investor in the firm’s £40 million Series C funding round in 2022. The new funding continues Orbex’s growth journey, following £3.3 million in funding from the UK Space Agency in December last year.

Phillip Chambers, CEO of Orbex, said: “Orbex is one of only two space rocket manufacturers in the UK, and the only one to also operate its own spaceport. Our technology is pivotal in making the UK a hub for European orbital launch, and we are entering a critical phase of development. We are building a sustainable, cost-effective launch vehicle to compete with the best of Europe’s spaceflight manufacturers. This additional funding will support our goal to push on into an operational launch phase and scale our business when the time comes.”

With testing and launch now in its sights, Orbex will soon enter a new phase of growth with a Series D funding round, which will aim to secure its long-term prospects as the leading orbital launch business in Europe.

“Orbex has made significant progress since we first invested, becoming one of the leading players in the UK space sector. We are pleased to build on our support for the business and will continue to work closely with the company’s renewed leadership team as they work towards the initial launch phase.”
Paddy Graham
Head of Scotland and Northern Ireland at BGF

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