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UK set for first ever rocket launch as spaceflight company takes ‘big step forward’

A UK-BASED spaceflight company has submitted its application for a licence to launch its first rockets from Scotland.

Spaceflight company Orbex has submitted its application to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

This comes as part of the company’s latest stage in the roadmap to beginning commercial space launches from the UK.

Orbex 'Prime' rocket
Orbex’s ‘Prime’ rocket is soon to be tested at the companies facilities in Kinloss.                                                   (C) Sonus

Orbex has already successfully completed pre-application meetings with the CAA, the UK’s biggest new space regulator.

The company has now progressed to the application stage, becoming the UK’s first launch operators to do so.

The licence application process is a key milestone in the journey that will see Orbex begin rocket launches from Space Hub Sutherland, in the North of Scotland.

The Sutherland base is the only spaceport in the UK to have received full planning permission, with construction due to begin later this year.

In the mean time, the Orbex ‘Prime’ rocket is soon to be tested on the Orbex LP1 launch platform at a facility in Kinloss, Moray.

Full ‘dress rehearsals’ of the rocket launch procedures will take place at the Orbex headquarters in Forres, Moray.

Space Hub Sutherland is the world’s first carbon neutral spaceport.

Prime is a micro-launcher, designed to transport small satellites weighing around 150kg to low Earth orbit.

It is set to become the world’s most environmentally friendly space rocket with a carbon footprint up to 96% lower than alternative space launch programmes.

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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