Space race BOOST: New rocket which can hit 800mph in 60 seconds to be made in Britain  – News 247

Orbex has also unveiled plans for a groundbreaking mission control centre at its base in Forres on the Moray coast, from which the company will direct futures, either from the proposed vertical launch spaceport at Sutherland, 70 miles north, or from an alternative, an undisclosed site should the Sutherland plans not come to fruition  At its factory, Orbex has installed several new production systems, including one of the largest carbon fibre winding machines in Europe The 18-metre long machine automates the rapid weaving of the intricate mixes of materials required to build the main rocket structures  The company’s ethos fits with the concept of NewSpace, or new space, an emerging term which refers to the globally emerging private spaceflight industry Chris Larmour, Orbex CEO, said: “We’re creating rockets in a way that hasn’t been done before  “The whole point of NewSpace – private enterprise getting involved in spaceflight – is to provide faster, better and cheaper access to space  “Burning through hundreds of millions of dollars on robotic assembly lines or hundreds of staff to produce heavy, metal rockets is an antiquated approach  “Building a modern space business means updating the manufacturing ethos to be faster, more agile and more flexible That’s what we’re doing here at Orbex.” Behind-the-scenes imagery reveals how the company is using advanced engineering techniques and materials to create the next generation of renewably-fuelled European orbital launch vehicles  Orbex has worked for several years to perfect the carbon fibre blend which is used in the patented construction of its Prime rocket  Because of its revolutionary design and choice of materials, Orbex Prime will be 30 per cent lighter than similar sized rockets, enabling staggering acceleration from 0 to 826mph (1,330km/h) in just 60 seconds  To prepare large rocket structures and components for spaceflight, Orbex utilises a full-scale autoclave, or pressure chamber, which uses high temperatures and up to seven times atmospheric pressure, to help carbon fibre composites bond solidly  The machines can process large rocket parts, such as main stage fuel tanks, in just a few hours, creating a strong and reliable structure which is ready for the extremes of space    Some of these carbon fibre structures are able to tolerate enormous pressures of up to 500 times that which applies at sea level on Earth  Earlier this year, Orbex revealed how it was using revolutionary 3-D printing to technology to create what are currently the world’s largest single-piece 3-D printed rocket engines  The technique allows the integration of dozens of tiny design details and features without requiring additional processing time and Orbex is able to 3-D print a complete rocket engine in just five days  In addition, Orbex has also announced details of its new Mission Control Centre, from which flight controllers will have access to numerous data streams from the launch vehicle during lift-off and flight, allowing complete remote command and control  Today, the Mission Control Centre is used to monitor engine tests and simulate flight operations, which Orbex operates from its rocket engine test sites, one in Denmark and one at a secure location in the UK    Prime is expected to be the first rocket to take off from Sutherland. On August 1, 2019, Orbex’s partner, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) confirmed it had signed a 75-year lease option with landowners, the Melness Crofters Estate, to build and operate a spaceport on its land  Designs for the spaceport, including the eco-friendly Launch Operations Control Centre, have been released as part of a public consultation ahead of a formal planning request, expected before the end of 2019  While some small satellite launches require up to 200,000 kilos of fossil fuels, Prime will use just 4,000 kilos of fuel per launch, making it roughly 50 times more fuel-efficient  The rockets will be driven by bio-propane, a clean-burning and completely renewable fuel that cuts carbon emissions by 90 percent when compared with standard kerosene-based rocket fuels, with no need for substances such as hydrazine or highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide  Prime rockets are also designed to leave no orbital debris and to be re-usable, using an innovative low mass concept to recover the main stage  Mr Larmour added: “Many satellites are now as small as a smartphone. “Our goal is to service this new market by making smaller, more efficient launch vehicles with a tiny CO2 footprint and zero orbital debris  “We want to eliminate waiting time by launching on a regular timetable, with massively reduced costs and a more agile, modular approach Trending  “We can only do that by re-thinking how we do it, rather than copying the past ” Orbex has already secured multiple commercial agreements to take small satellites into orbit from Scotland, including deals with SSTL, the world’s leading manufacturer of small satellites  In July 2019, Orbex announced it had also signed commercial agreements with In-Space Missions, which is developing ‘In-Orbit Demonstrator’ satellites and Innovative Space Logistics which would procure orbital space launches from Orbex for a number of smallsat missions Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company with headquarters and production facilities in Forres, Scotland, with design facilities in Denmark  The company is funded by two of Europe’s largest venture capital funds, Heartcore Capital and the High-Tech Gründerfonds, as well as strategic investor Elecnor Deimos Space, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program

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