Scottish space company Orbex has received £16.7 million from a group of six significant investors to further work on its rocket technology and construction of its launch facility in Sutherland.

The cash injection is an update to its £40.4m Series C funding round completed in October 2022 and takes the total funds raised by the business to £102m. The money will help Orbex ramp up the development of Prime, its 19-metre two-stage rocket designed to transport small satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO).

The company employs 120 people at its main facility in Forres and a further 50 in Copenhagen, and now has two active patents in a number of European countries and the United States covering various parts of its rocket technology. This is powered by a renewable biofuel that allows the rocket to significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to other similarly sized rockets.

READ MORE: Scottish space company secures international rocket patent

Scottish National Investment Bank has provided £10.5m of follow-on funding, with the remainder spread across venture capital firms Octopus Ventures, BGF, Heartcore, the Export & Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), plus corporate and angel investors.

The funding follows the January appointment of scale-up expert Phillip Chambers as chief executive and Miguel Belló Mora, former director-general of the Spanish Space Agency, as chairman. Mr Chambers became an investor in the firm’s Series C funding round, putting in £200,000 of his own money.

“Orbex is one of only two space rocket manufacturers in the UK, and the only one to also operate its own spaceport," Mr Chambers said. "Our technology is pivotal in making the UK a hub for European orbital launch, and we are entering a critical phase of development.

"We are building a sustainable, cost-effective launch vehicle to compete with the best of Europe’s spaceflight manufacturers. This additional funding will support our goal to push on into an operational launch phase and scale our business when the time comes.”