The first full-scale prototype of a rocket designed for launching small satellites from a Highlands spaceport has been unveiled.

Forres-based Orbex said its final version of the 19m (62ft) long Prime rocket would be re-useable and powered by a renewable bio-fuel, bio-propane.

The rockets will be launched from Space Hub Sutherland, which could be operational later this year.

The prototype will undergo trials at a testing facility in Kinloss in Moray.

A separate plan to launch satellites from a facility in Shetland has also taken a major step forward.

Orbex, which has manufacturing sites in the UK and Denmark, plans to launch micro satellites from Space Hub Sutherland, near Tongue.

Chris Larmour, of Orbex, said: "This is a major milestone for Orbex and highlights just how far along our development path we now are.

"From the outside, it might look like an ordinary rocket, but on the inside, Prime is unlike anything else."

He said the rocket's innovations included the use of low-carbon fuels and having 3D printed engines.

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the £17m Sutherland project

Plans for up to 12 launches a year from a single launch pad were approved by the Highland Council in 2020.

Scottish Land Court approval, which was also required as the proposed development is on crofting land, was granted the following year.

Extracted from BBC News - Scotland website - Read more here

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