Agência para o Investimento e Comércio Externo de Portugal


Guidance, Navigation and Control system of Orbex’s Prime micro-launcher to be provided by Elecnor Deimos.

Elecnor Deimos has been selected to develop the flight control system of Orbex’s micro-launcher, Prime. The development activities will be carried out by Deimos Space UK and Deimos Engenharia, Elecnor Deimos branches in UK and Portugal.

The contract will be carried out in the frame of ESA’s Boost! contract awarded to Orbex, for the completion of spaceflight systems in preparation for the first launches of Orbex’s 19-metre micro-launcher, Prime, fuelled by bio-propane and designed to leave zero debris in orbit around the Earth.


Elecnor Deimos will develop the launcher’s GNC – the Guidance, Navigation and Control subsystem running the autonomy and autopilot of the vehicle. The company is also responsible for the GNC’s FDIR – the fault detection, isolation, and recovery subsystem, providing the autonomous failure management of the launcher, and also for the test-benches and post-flight analyses for continuous product improvement.


Deimos Space UK will be leading the Elecnor Deimos contribution, by being lead contractor for the GNC for the atmospheric/ascent flight, the autonomous failure management, test benches and post-flight analysis. Deimos Engenharia in Portugal will lead the GNC for the orbital phase once the launcher leaves the atmosphere.


The critical design review of the GNC to ensure that the subsystem meets the performance requirements is scheduled for the end of 2021. The launch of the first Prime unit is foreseen for the end of 2022.


Elecnor Deimos is a strategic investor and partner of Orbex and has been part of the early phases of the Orbex micro-launcher design, contributing to the viable product now approved to reach launch in less than two years.


Elecnor Deimos space transportation technologies were first demonstrated with ESA’s IXV, a European prototype spaceplane to validate the Europe’s work in the field of reusable launchers, which is now a fundamental heritage for ESA’s Space Rider, where Deimos continues to deliver world-class work. Deimos has also been very active in both Scottish and Azorean spaceports for many years, with studies and activities enabling the sustainable launch of micro-launchers from Europe in partnership with national partners of internationally recognised added value.