The boss of Moray-based rocket builder Orbex has said a £1.5 million funding boost from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will help it create more local jobs.
Orbex’s workforce is expected to more than double, to around 130, as it counts down to becoming the first company to launch small satellites into orbit from the proposed spaceport in Sutherland.
The firm plans to have a permanent team at the facility, on the A’Mhoine peninsula, to prepare commercial payloads for its Prime rocket. It is also expected to increase staff numbers at its head office and factory in Forres, where it is also establishing a mission control operation.
Orbex chief executive Chris Larmour said: “Regional support from HIE is a fantastic boost for Orbex and will help us create new opportunities for local employment.”
HIE business growth director David Oxley added: “Orbex is a key player in helping to develop the space sector in the Highlands and Islands. Its Prime development project has already led to the creation of new, highly-skilled jobs in the region and we expect to see many more as the company grows.”
Trade, Investment and Innovation Minister Ivan McKee said the public funding, comprising a grant of up to £825,000 and loan of up to £675,000, showed the Scottish Government was working to support the Highlands and Islands as the region recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Highland councillors approved HIE’s planning application for the £17.3m Space Hub Sutherland vertical launch spaceport last month.