Orbex & Arianespace To Establish Joint Launch Partnership

20th Jul 2023
Orbex & Arianespace To Establish Joint Launch Partnership

Launch providers Orbex and Arianespace have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a launch partnership. The MoU is designed to create more flexibility and capacity of launch offerings for small satellite companies endeavouring to reach Low-Earth Orbit. 

Denmark and Scotland-based Orbex is planning on both using and running Sutherland Spaceport in Northern Scotland as their home spaceport. Their sustainability focused Prime rocket will deliver their customers satellites. French launch provider Arianespace is also shifting operations with their series of rockets under development, especially with the retirement of the Ariane 5, which delivered the JUICE spacecraft.

Orbex & Arianespace Memorandum of Understanding

Orbex and Arianespace signed the MoU “to study possible future cooperation to answer its customers’ requirements,” the launch providers said in a press release. Future cooperation between the launch companies will aim to benefit their customers who are looking to establish small satellite constellations, with the MoU “providing flexible solutions for Low-Earth Orbit payloads.” 

Additionally, Orbex and Arianespace light and heavy-lift launch vehicles could offer a joint deployment of those initial constellations into required orbital planes. They could also deliver a smaller number of satellites, as well as satellite replenishment and replacement launches more frequently.

Using Orbex Prime & Sutherland Spaceport For Future Launches

Orbex’s Prime rocket is set to deliver their customers small satellites, and by collaborating with Arianespace, both companies could be launching more frequently in the near future. Credit: Orbex

Orbex’s 19-metre long, two-stage Prime rocket is gearing up to begin transporting up to 180 kg of small satellite payloads to Low-Earth Orbit. The rocket is fuelled by renewable bio-propane, which – according to a University of Exeter study – will produce up to 96% less carbon emissions compared to its competitors. 

Orbex’s under-construction home launch site, Sutherland Spaceport – which could be the first vertical launch spaceport on mainland UK – will see 12 launches per year. Coupled with a prospective joint venture with Arianespace, Orbex hopes their customers will see: “this collaboration holds a lot of promise for the European launch market and we’re excited to see where we can take this,” Orbex CEO Martin Coats said.

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