In-Space Missions Ltd., a provider of military, institutional and commercial space initiatives, announced today at the 33rd Annual Conference on Small Satellites in Logan, Utah, that it will partner with Orbex, a UK-based orbital launch services company, to launch the Faraday-2b satellite from Scotland in 2022.
Faraday-2b will be the largest of In-Space’s commercial Early Service/In-Orbit Demonstrator (IOD) missions to date. Its space-as-a-service Faraday missions provide ultra-low-cost access to space for customers needing to demonstrate new services and technologies with the potential to move into an operational phase. In-Space is currently manifesting payloads for this mission, whereby multiple organizations will share up to an expected 45kg payload on a single 80kg satellite. The company’s first mission, Faraday-1 will launch later in 2019.
With $40 million in project financing, Orbex is the best-funded European private launch provider. In February 2019, Orbex publicly unveiled the engineering prototype of the Stage 2 of its Prime launch vehicle, a dedicated smallsat launcher, which is up to 30 percent lighter and 20 percent more efficient than any other vehicle in the micro launcher category. Orbex Prime utilizes bio-propane, a clean-burning, renewable fuel that cuts carbon emissions by 90 percent compared to traditional hydrocarbon fuels.
The Faraday-2b satellite will be launched from what is expected to be continental Europe’s first spaceport, Space Hub Sutherland, in the A’Mhoine peninsula in the Scottish Highlands. On August 1, 2019, Orbex’s partner, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) confirmed that it had signed a 75-year lease option with landowners, the Melness Crofters Estate, to build and operate a spaceport on its land. This critical development opens the path for the UK and Europe’s first sovereign vertical launch capability.
“Traditional rideshares on a larger vehicle create a level of schedule uncertainty that can kill small space missions,” said Doug Liddle, CEO of In-Space. “For our Faraday service to thrive, we need the commercial and technical innovation that we have seen in Orbex, combined with the efficiency of a European launch site. Orbex is one of the most innovative NewSpace companies in Europe and in partnership with them, we are able to deliver a turnkey service to customers that is miles ahead of the competition.”
“This is a dynamic time for the UK and European commercial space industry, and we're very excited to be able to support the In-Space Early Service missions, which are providing highly agile orbital access for a host of new space services and technologies," said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex. “In-Space’s commercial IOD capability is one more critical competence that will be available to customers within continental Europe. With the positive progress being made with Space Hub Sutherland and now, In-Space signing as Orbex’s fourth customer, satellite owners can see that Scottish launches are fast becoming a commercial reality.”