Specifically, Northrop Grumman’s Orion rocket motors have been selected for the first and second stages, and Exquadrum will provide the upper-stage motor to place satellites in their intended orbits.
While it is headquartered in London – with executive offices in Washington DC – it will be operating from launch and payload integration facilities at Prestwick Spaceport, near Glasgow. And the company believes it is on-track for a first launch there in Spring 2024.
Its horizontal launch system – via a C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft – can deliver satellites into Low Earth Orbit Inclinations, Equatorial Orbit, Sun Synchronous, and Geo-Synchronous Transfer Orbit. As well as Scotland, it has operational locations in Alabama and Florida.
“We have a winning combination of proven launch and propulsion systems paired with exquisite rocket motor technology to produce a world-class capability,” said Sir George Zambellas, Astraius Chairman.
“When coupled with Prestwick Spaceport’s state-of-the-art launch vehicle and payload integration facilities, Scotland will be the UK’s leader for responsive space launch.”
Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, added:
“It is great to see these exciting new collaborations and this major milestone towards horizontal launch at Prestwick Spaceport with Astraius.”
“Scotland’s space sector is booming and this partnership demonstrates the growing launch market, which will create jobs and opportunities across the UK and attract international investment.”
The announcement was made at the Farnborough International Airshow where the company was exhibiting in the Space Zone.
Image: Astraius – (from left to right): Kevin E. Mahaffy, Chief Executive Officer of Exquadrum; Sir George Zambellas, Chairman of Astraius; Ian Annett, Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency; Eric E. Schmidt, President of Exquadrum and Mick O’Connor, Programme Director at Prestwick Spaceport