UK Ready to Write History With the Launch of Its First Rocket in More Than Half a Century

Orbex has released an image of the future rocket launch pad in Scotland 6 photos
Photo: Orbex Space
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2021 has been a breakthrough year for Britain’s aerospace industry, so far, and it looks like next year it will literally take off – a private satellite launch services provider began constructing the first orbital launch pad in the UK, in more than 50 years. The Orbex Prime sustainable rocket will be launched next year, confirming Britain’s fast-growing trajectory in the booming space industry.
Earlier this year, British spaceflight reached a milestone when government regulations finally allowed satellites and rockets to be launched from UK soil, in a historic first. The government had introduced the new commercial spaceflight program back in 2017, and 2021 is the year when things started to move. Space Hub Sutherland, in the north of Scotland, is the only one in the country that was granted full planning permission, for now, and it also intends to be the world’s first carbon-neutral spaceport.

This is where the Orbex Prime rocket, which is based on sustainable technology as well, will be launched from. In order to support and advance these plans, Orbex will also build a new launch platform called Orbex LP1. This will be the first launchpad of its kind in the UK since the High Down Rocket Test Site facility was decommissioned at the beginning of the 1970s. High Down had been used as a test facility for the first and only Britain-made rocket, the Black Arrow.

With support from the UK Space Agency, Orbex will be at the forefront of a historic event. Its British-made rocket will first be tested at this new launchpad, before the actual launch from the Space Hub Sutherland.

Located near Kinloss, in Scotland, close to the Orbex headquarters, this trailblazing platform will be equipped with everything that’s required for full launch procedures rehearsals. The construction of this rocket launch platform will be a first for Motive Offshore Group as well, a company that typically manufactures marine and lifting equipment and which has accepted the challenge of taking on this historic task.

Construction on the Kinloss launch pad has already begun, while the Sutherland facility will be built at the beginning of next year. Coming up in 2022, Orbex Prime will not only be the first Britain-made rocket to be launched in more than 50 years, but also the first one ever to take off from UK's soil.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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