Portuguese company selected for crucial role in Orbex’s Prime micro-launcher

5 April 2021

Deimos Engenharia will be providing to Orbex the guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system for the Prime micro-launcher.

Elecnor Deimos has been selected to develop the flight control system of Orbex’s micro-launcher, Prime. The development activities will be carried out by Deimos Space UK and Deimos Engenharia, Elecnor Deimos branches in UK and Portugal.

Orbex subcontracted the company in Portugal for the GNC system during the orbital phase of the mission, which manages the autonomy and the autopilot of the vehicle, and the company in the UK for the GNC during the atmospheric/ascent flight, the autonomous failure management, test benches and post-flight analysis, for continuous product improvement.

This is a major accomplishment for the Portuguese industry, seeing a national company embracing a fundamental role in a mission that will contribute for a more sustainable space transport in Europe. Nuno Ávila, Director of Deimos Engenharia, adds:

“Until now, this type of responsibility in Europe has been reserved for the great primes. The leadership of this system, especially in New Space, is something unprecedented and denotes the rise of the national industry in the value chain.”

With its first launch scheduled for 2022, Prime is a “small” 19-meter rocket, potentially reusable, powered by bio-propane and designed not to leave debris in orbit around the Earth.

The work will be carried out under the frame of Boost!, ESA’s program that awarded Orbex and Skyrora (UK companies) a total amount of €10.45 million in order to support these companies’ proposals for new commercial launch services for small satellites. These will encourage a more “green” space exploration, allowing new uses of space to improve daily life, benefit science and stimulate the competitiveness of the space sector, in a sustainable way.

The Prime rocket

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