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Orbex unveils a full-scale prototype of its Prime smallsat rocket

Prime rocket prototype on launchpad

Capitalism in space: Orbex today unveiled a full-scale prototype of its Prime smallsat rocket, positioned on its own launchpad at the Sutherland Space Hub spaceport in Scotland, now under construction.

The photo to the right shows that prototype, held vertical with its own strongback. From the press release:

With the first full integration of the Orbex rocket on a launch pad now complete, the company is able to enter a period of integrated testing, allowing dress rehearsals of rocket launches and the development and optimisation of launch procedures. Orbex recently revealed their first test launch platform at a new test facility in Kinloss, a few miles from the company’s headquarters at Forres in Moray, Scotland.

Note that Sutherland Space Hub is not the SaxaVord Shetland Island spaceport also being developed in Scotland. The two are competing with each other to successfully complete the first launch from the United Kingdom in history. Also competing for this honor is an airport in Cornwall, which has a deal with Virgin Orbit to do its own launch later this year. And regardless who wins this race, the three sites will likely give the UK the first European-based spaceports in history.

The United Kingdom’s decision in 2016 to shift from a single government-run spaceport to competition and capitalism appears to be now finally paying off.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

6 comments

  • Concerned

    Sons of V-2’s popping up all over the world now. People are definitely studying their rocket science and perfecting their hobby. Maybe some real competitors to Elon Musk will sprout soon, fingers crossed.

  • ” . . . .to successfully complete the first launch from the United Kingdom in history.”

    I’ve asked on my blog: ‘Where has the progenitor of the Industrial Revolution *been* in space? Nowhere, that’s where. The occasional astronaut, but not hardware. Really? This must eat Jeremy Clarkson alive.

    UK engineers, techs, and scientist have thrived outside their home; why not where they live?

  • Blair: You ask an interesting historical question. What happened was that right after Great Britain successfully launched its own satellite using its own small rocket in October 1971, the government decided to shut down its entire rocket effort and instead rely on either the U.S. or ESA for future launches. It has only been in the past five years that the UK government has shifted to encourage launches by private companies.

  • wayne

    “The Black Arrow & Britain’s Rocket Program”
    Scott Manley (March 2020)
    https://youtu.be/FKRkFwc9234
    12:46

  • sippin_bourbon

    Mr Z/Blair,

    I am going to presume that was done as they realized the cost.

  • “I am going to presume that was done as they realized the cost.”

    Yes, the cost was that some of the best talent on the planet went to waste in the effort to get off the planet. Where is the value, there?

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