UK launch services provider Orbex has unveiled a completed engineering prototype of the second stage for its Prime rocket at the opening of its new headquarters and rocket design facility in Forres in the Scottish Highlands. Prime is a small satellite launcher that is set to be the first UK rocket to launch UK satellites from a UK launch site. Orbex also announced two customers who have signed up for Prime launches.
Regardless of the historic nature of Prime’s goal to mark the UK’s first end-to-end domestic launch capability, it is also a super-advanced vehicle that sports a specially-formulated lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum composite – and includes the world’s largest 3-D printed rocket engine.
The vehicle has been designed by Orbex aerospace engineers with a wealth of professional experience from organizations including NASA, ESA and Arianespace.
“Thanks to its novel architecture, Prime launchers are up to 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than any other vehicle in the small launcher category, packing more power per cubic liter than many heavy launchers,” noted Orbex after revealing photos of the second stage at its new facility in Scotland.
The 3-D printed rocket engine was uniquely manufactured in a single ...