Following the announcement of Orbex’s $35 million funding round for orbital space launch system development, on July 17, 2018, at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018, Elecnor Deimos announced acquiring a stake in Orbex. Both companies have signed a strategic agreement, based on their previous collaborations.

The agreement assumes Orbex will become the preferred supplier of all launch services to place Elecnor Deimos satellites into orbit. Elecnor Deimos will reciprocally supply critical launch systems required to develop and operate the Orbex launcher system, including the Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) system.

Orbex is a UK-based spaceflight company, with subsidiaries and production facilities in Denmark and Germany. The company is currently constructing a re-designed orbital launch vehicle, called Prime, to deliver small satellites into Earth’s orbit. Orbex is to launch orbital vehicles from the newly-announced UK Vertical Launch spaceport in Sutherland, in the Scottish Highlands, as part of the main consortium.

“Orbex's partnership with Elecnor Deimos is significant for us on a number of levels,” said Chris Larmour, Orbex CEO. “It demonstrates that as well as technological maturity, we have achieved a milestone in business maturity, where we are already in a position to become the preferred launch partner for an organisation as significant as Elecnor Deimos.”

“It also helps us maintain our accelerated pace of development, as we are able to incorporate tried-and-tested critical launch systems from Elecnor Deimos ranging from navigation to ground and mission control systems,” Larmour added.

Elecnor Deimos will contribute with its expertise to the development of the Orbex launcher in areas including guidance, navigation and control, mission analysis and engineering, system engineering, and ground segment systems.  

“The huge potential of Orbex quickly became clear to Elecnor Deimos, which is why we became both an investor in the company as well as a strategic partner,” commented Miguel Belló Mora, CEO of Elecnor Deimos.  

“By using a number of our advanced navigation and mission support systems, Orbex is leaping ahead in its ability to safely and efficiently execute small satellite launches in the near future. This in turn helps Elecnor Deimos as it gives us access to innovative and efficient launch vehicles, which will be launching from several sites within Europe,” said Mora.

The small satellite launch market is expected to grow to around $60 billion between 2018-2030, shifting towards more international satellite operators. More than 30 commercial consortia are currently building smallsats constellations, with almost 12,000 satellites expected to be launched by 2030.Each satellite has a life expectancy of 3-5 years,creating a strong demand for upgrade and replenishment.