October -- Space Launch Services (SpaceLS) is developing what may become
the first new UK orbital launch vehicle since the Black Arrow programme was
abandoned in 1971. The Prometheus-1 is designed to carry a payload of at least
100kg to LEO, and is intended to address the growing smallsat constellation
The rocket will be a three-stage vehicle, empioying a regeneratively cooled gas-generator turbopumped rocket engine burning kerosene and HTP. The main engine, named Raptorex will have around 75,000lbf thrust. The nozzle will be filament-wound carbon fibre, ablatively cooled.
In a recent email update, SpaceLS indicated that their prototype engine has been fabricated, with assembly taking place this month.
A lead engineer for turbopump development has been appointed, with background at MIT and GE Aviation. Andoya Space Centre in Norway has been identified as a potential launch site for the Prometheus-1 vehicle.
Space Launch Services (SpaceLS) is hoping to compete with private launch firms such as Virgin Galactic and RocketLab with its rocket. Long-term plans include the design of larger vehicles, using clusters of 7 or 9 Raptorex engines.