Madrid, 13 may 2022

Orbex, a company owned by Elecnor Deimos, presents Prime, the world’s most sustainable rocket

It is Europe’s first full-scale micro-launcher rocket

  • The launcher is being developed in the United Kingdom with support from Portugal

The first full-scale prototype of the orbital space rocket Prime, developed by Orbex with support from Elecnor Deimos, has been unveiled publicly for the first time on its launch pad in Scotland.

Prime is a 19-metre long, two-stage rocket, powered by seven engines, which will release a payload of small commercial satellites into low earth orbit (LEO). The Prime launchers will be 30% lighter and 20% more efficient that any other type of vehicle in the small launcher category.

Elecnor Deimos is designing the launcher’s flight control subsystem or GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) which will manage the rocket’s autonomy and autopilot. In particular, Deimos Space UK is leading the development of the subsystem for the atmospheric/ascent flight phase, autonomous failure management, test benches and post-flight analysis. In turn, Deimos Engenharia, in Portugal, is in charge of the GNC as far as the orbital phase once the launcher leaves the atmosphere.

A sustainable rocket

Orbex Prime is powered by a renewable bio-fuel, bio-propane, which allows it to reduce carbon emissions by 96% compared to other space launch systems using fossil fuels, according to a study by the University of Exeter.

Once the first full integration of Prime on a launch pad is complete, the launcher will enter a period of integrated testing. This will allow for dress rehearsals of launches and the development and optimisation of the launch procedures.

“This is a great achievement for Orbex and we are very proud to be part of this process,” states Ismael López, CEO of Elecnor Deimos. “Once again we would like to thank both the UK Space Agency and the Portuguese Space Agency for their support and efforts in promoting sustainable launch initiatives in Europe”.

Nuno Ávila, Country Manager at Deimos Engenharia in Portugal, adds: “The Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) system is one of a launcher’s most important systems, on a level with the propulsion system, and it is certainly the one which deploys the most intelligence. Leading PRIME’s orbital phase is a privilege and a significant milestone for Portuguese engineering”.

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