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Orbex ramps up rocket development with new investment
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Orbex ramps up rocket development with new investment
by Sophie Jenkins
London, UK (SPX) Apr 19, 2024

Orbex, a prominent UK spaceflight company, has announced a GBP 16.7 million investment from a consortium of six key investors as part of an extension to its Series C funding round, bringing its total raised funds to GBP 102 million. This investment will support the acceleration of its 19-meter long, two-stage rocket, Prime, designed for launching small satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The rocket, notable for its use of renewable biofuel, significantly reduces carbon emissions, offering an eco-friendlier alternative in the space launch sector.

Orbex has secured two active patents in various European countries and the United States, which cover different aspects of its innovative rocket technology. This recent funding will enable further development and ensure readiness for the upcoming launch period.

Key investors include the Scottish National Investment Bank, which contributed GBP 10.5 million, alongside venture capital firms Octopus Ventures, BGF, Heartcore, the Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), and various corporate and angel investors.

The funding round follows significant organizational changes, including the appointment of Phillip Chambers as CEO and former Director General of the Spanish Space Agency Miguel Bello Mora as part of the leadership team. Chambers, who invested in the company's GBP 40 million Series C round in 2022, commented on the strategic importance of the investment: "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 critical in making the UK a hub for European orbital launch."

Nicola Douglas, Executive Director of Innovation at the Scottish National Investment Bank, emphasized Orbex's alignment with Scotland's net zero and innovation goals, due to its commitment to sustainability and innovative launch technology.

Further endorsements came from Paddy Graham of BGF and Erik Balck Sorensen of EIFO, who noted Orbex's strategic importance to the EU's space capabilities and its commitment to green technology.

Simon King from Octopus Ventures expressed enthusiasm for the team's progress and the upcoming first launch, highlighting Orbex's role in changing the space industry landscape.

With its sights set on further testing and a new phase of growth, Orbex is preparing for a Series D funding round to secure its position as a leading orbital launch provider in Europe.

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