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

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






ATTENTION there are some problems with word registering

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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.

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

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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