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Innovative Low-Mass Tanks for a Low-Cost European Micro-Launch Vehicle

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






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 OrbEx project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the OrbEx project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "OrbEx" about.

innovative    playing    sharing    technically    prototyping    inert    micro    overseas    mass    instrument    projected    integration    composite    52b    lightweight    orbital    23    materials    differentiated    advantage    sme    cagr    rideshare    2022    smallsat    lowering    capacity    subsequent    ride    89b    fly    arrangement    exploits    us    launch    tank    logistics    smallsats    faster    volume    hydrostatically    models    services    staff    propellants    shortening    tanking    subsequently    unsuitable    export    dual    small    suppliers    30    designed    spare    procurement    delays    lack    orbits    mitigates    delay    satellites    requiring    launcher    severe    vehicle    pressure    create    eliminates    uniquely    time    drafted    tested    benefits    designs    grow    prove    patent    realization    market    business       operators    revenue    reduces    realized    cryogenic    orbex    instrumented    mainland       satellite    generation    prototype    explore    space   

Project "OrbEx" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: 39-41 NORTH ROAD
city: LONDON
postcode: N7 9DP
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 71˙429 €
 EC max contribution 50˙000 € (70%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.2.1.6. (INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Space)
2. H2020-EU.2.3.1. (Mainstreaming SME support, especially through a dedicated instrument)
 Code Call H2020-SMEINST-1-2016-2017
 Funding Scheme SME-1
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-02-01   to  2017-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Small satellites (smallsats) are playing an increasingly significant role in space. Smallsats currently fly to space via ride-sharing – taking spare capacity on a large launcher. Rideshare has numerous issues, including lack of availability, severe launch delays, and unsuitable orbits.

OrbEx is developing an EU-based orbital micro-launch vehicle with a uniquely innovative advantage that eliminates the issues of rideshare and mitigates the cost of a dedicated launch for smallsat operators. The vehicle exploits the properties of dual-cryogenic propellants to create an innovative, lightweight, low-cost tanking arrangement that reduces the inert mass of the launch vehicle by as much at 30% over traditional designs.

The small satellite launch market is well established and growing rapidly. The market for smallsat launch services is projected to grow from US$0.89B to US$2.52B by 2022, a CAGR 23.2%.

The benefits of developing this tanking system for a European micro-launch vehicle include:-

• Lowering cost of space access, including logistics/integration • Reduced delay in time-to-market • Enabling faster revenue generation for smallsat business models • Shortening launch procurement & integration lead time

OrbEx staff have designed & realized a prototype tank, and subsequently drafted a patent for the technology. The tank was instrumented, hydrostatically pressure-tested and then used to prove the concept in cryogenic conditions.

The objective of this SME Instrument Phase 1 study is to build on our prototyping of this innovative concept, to explore the realization of this tank concept using composite materials. We will assess whether 1) this is technically possible, without requiring export-controlled technology from overseas, using European materials suppliers / partners, and 2) how it could be implemented in subsequent development and volume production steps leading to a highly differentiated, low cost, micro-launcher capable of launch from mainland Europe.

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The information about "ORBEX" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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