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Second Forres building occupied by expanding space firm

Published: 26/11/2021

A building on the Enterprise Park Forres has been leased to space satellite launch vehicle manufacturer, Orbex, which already owns an adjacent building.

The purpose built 929 square metre manufacturing facility at 5 Innovation Way is owned by park developer, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). It sits opposite Orbex’s existing premises also located in the Enterprise Park and owned by the company.

Built in 2014 and designed by Inverness-based Threesixty Architecture the second building offers a flexible combination of office space and workshop and has solar panels and air-sourced heat pumps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. These environmental credentials align with Orbex’s commitment to sustainability.

Orbex is developing the Orbex Prime, an innovative new low-carbon launch vehicle that will transport small satellites into Earth orbit from Space Hub Sutherland, the launch site that HIE is developing near Tongue on the A' Mhoine peninsula. The rocket is poised to become one of the most environmentally friendly orbital launch vehicles ever built, benefiting from the use of renewable, ultra-low-carbon biofuel. It is also designed to be reusable and to not leave any debris.

With the continued growth of the company, additional space is needed for the expanding workforce and for new equipment. The second building’s large double-height workshop will be used as a launch vehicle integration facility, with the first vehicle already being constructed on site.

Stuart Black, HIE’s area manager for Moray, said:

“The Orbex Prime project has already led to the creation of around 100, highly skilled jobs, with the majority of them based in Moray, and we expect to see many more as the company continues to grow. We’re delighted to welcome Orbex into this second building on the Enterprise Park and look forward to continuing to work with them as they help develop the wider space sector in the Highlands and Islands.”

Chris Larmour, chief executive officer at Orbex said:

"This new facility will allow us to accelerate our plans to build one of the world's most advanced, low-carbon rockets, enabling us to place a new generation of small satellites into orbit. Today's news demonstrates our commitment to expanding our operations at Forres, bringing economic opportunities to the local area and putting Forres at the heart of one of the most exciting and innovative industries in the world."

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