Orbex announced earlier today that it had successfully closed a £40.4M ($46.3M) Series C funding round. This latest round of funding pushes the company’s total funding to date past $100 million, making it one of the most well-funded launch startups in Europe.
Road to $100+ million
- July 2018: £30M (approximately $33.8M) funding round that included the UK Space Agency, Sunstone Technology Ventures, HTGF, and other venture funds
- Dec. 2020: $24M funding round led by investment company BGF and venture capital fund Octopus Ventures
- March 2021: €7.45M (~$7.3M) from the ESA Boost! Programme, which aims to nurture sovereign European launch capabilities
- October 2022: £40.4M in Series C funding, led by The Scottish National Investment Bank which invested £17.8M of the total amount. The round included previous investors Heartcore Capital, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Octopus Ventures, along with new investors Jacobs, The Danish Green Future Fund, Verve Ventures, and British entrepreneurs Phillip and James Chambers
According to Orbex, the new funding will be used to “scale up its resources” as it prepares for the debut of its Prime launch vehicle.
Prime is a two-stage rocket designed to be capable of delivering 180-kg payloads to LEO. The rocket is powered by six engines aboard the first stage and a single vacuum-optimized engine on the second. The engines burn a biofuel that, according to Orbex, reduces Prime’s carbon footprint by up to 96% compared with similarly sized launch vehicles.
The new funding will also support “future projects,” though the exact nature of these future projects is currently not known.
Inching closer to the launchpad
In May, Orbex unveiled the first fully stacked prototype of its Prime launcher at its test facility in Kinloss, Scotland. This prototype is currently undergoing integration testing that puts the rocket’s main propellant tanks and engines through their paces. Orbex is also using Prime to fine-tune launch procedures like rollout, strongback erection, and fuelling.
What’s next? The maiden flight of Prime is slated for 2023 from Scotland’s Space Hub Sutherland. The launch will carry an “experimental payload” developed by UK-based satellite builder Surrey Satellite Technology.