Frequently Asked Questions

Black Arrow 2

What is the payload capacity?

The first version of Black Arrow 2 is being designed to lift at least 500 kg to 200×200 km 0° equatorial orbit, or 200 kg to 600×600 km 98° sun-synchronous.

A logical upgrade path exists to increase performance above 1,000 kg to LEO at some point in the future.

How many stages and engines are on Black Arrow 2?

Black Arrow 2 is a two-stage vehicle, with a single engine on each stage.

The first stage produces 360,000 Newtons of thrust (approx. 81,000 lbf) and the upper stage produces 45,000 Newtons (approx. 10,000 lbf). Peak acceleration in flight will be about 5g.

What makes your rocket different?

Black Arrow 2 is highly optimised for price.

Most launch systems are optimised to improve performance in order to keep prices reasonable, however optimising performance is very expensive in the rocket business. We have simply taken a fresh approach to this problem. Performance is actually a tertiary factor in our design, following after price and reliability. Our vehicle has to be slightly larger in order to compensate, but overall it is a lot less costly.

Black Arrow 2 will also be the first orbital vehicle to fly using Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) propellants. This combination is both the lowest cost propellant choice, and also the greenest propellant available today.

Although it is true that Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen (LOX/LH2) will produce fewer combustion by-products in-flight, the industrial production processes required to produce most modern super-cold hydrogen create a lot more pollution overall, so LOX/LNG is actually the least environmentally harmful solution of all modern propellants.

Will you launch only UK and ESA satellites?

No. Black Arrow 2 can be used to fly satellites from virtually any client, and we welcome private satellite launch clients to contact us.

The design of Black Arrow 2 was chosen to meet the requirements of the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency, simply because their requirements are already well-known. If the price/performance appeals to a commercial client, they should contact us.

What new technology do you have?

This vehicle will use a variety of new technologies including 3D-Printed rocket engine components, composite structures and a new avionics suite, all being developed in the UK.

Overall, this will be the first orbital launch vehicle system to be made in the UK since the original Black Arrow project was cancelled after just a single successful flight in 1971.

This is actually a benefit because we are free of legacy programs. We can therefore design these products with a completely clean sheet, selecting only the very best and latest technologies that are available world-wide.

When is your first test launch?

Our current schedule aims to begin a 10-flight test program in 2018 with a sub-orbital test of a single stage of the vehicle.

Will Black Arrow 2 fly people into space (since you have a contest to fly in space)?

Black Arrow 2 will not be powerful enough to carry any people.

Pricing

How much will your launch cost?

Black Arrow 2‘s Price is strongly affected by how many we fly each year.

We are currently aiming for just 4 flights per year, at which rate the price for a standard launch will be approximately £ 5 million per flight. If we can routinely attract more customers each year the price will reduce noticeably.

If we can attract sufficient customers each year, the price per launch should fall to just £ 1.2 million each.

All prices are in GB Pounds Sterling. Currency exchange rates can be found on XE.com.

How do I get a quote on a launch?

Serious client inquiries only should be directed to our sales team by e-mail. The e-mail address is on our Contact page.

How far in advance should I book a launch?

A launch contract secured today is currently scheduled to launch in approximately 30 months time. Once our launch program increases its pace of flight operations, this lead-time is expected to shorten to around 12 months.

Do you have a package deal for multiple launches?

We can negotiate discount rates on a case-by-case basis. Clients should contact our sales team by e-mail. The e-mail address is on our Contact page.

Where is your launch site?

We have two launch sites:

Northern Scotland (polar and sun synchronous launches only).

A floating platform that can relocate to suit polar, equatorial or any other missions.

Is the launcher reusable?

The first versions of Black Arrow 2 will not be reusable.

We do intend to attempt recovery of the first stages at some point in the future, mainly to examine the stage after flight. We do not expect to recover any Black Arrow 2 upper stages.

Company

What is the long-term goal for your company?

Long-term, Horizon intends to build and operate a fleet of vehicles designed specifically for human space flight missions that will visit our own commercial space station facility in orbit. This facility will be available to governments, private industry and commercial astronauts. More details will be released on this project soon.

Although this is our goal, we are currently focussing all of our attention on the challenging task of making our first launch system work properly. We need to learn to walk before we can possibly hope to run a full marathon!

What does this company do?

We build the future.

Humanity stands on the edge of a great expansion of activity into space – it is part of our destiny to reach out beyond the cradle that is our home planet, and to embrace the wonders, the endless places to explore and the vast wealth of resources that await, right on our celestial doorstep.

We are building the path, one vehicle and one launch at a time, that will lead humanity into the heavens, on a journey into space, a journey that is already touching everyone’s life.

Why did you start this company?

Humans have been launching themselves into space for over 55 years. Yet after decades of hard work and massive expense, in all that time (to the end of 2016) only 552 people have flown into orbit around the Earth. That is an average of only ten each year.

Only 24 people have ever flown beyond Earth, towards the moon, and only half of those ever had the chance to descend down to the surface of our next-door neighbour.

Nobody under the age of 44 (well over 65% of the world’s current population) was alive to witness anyone walking on another world.

There was a time when the government space programs made every child dream of living and working in space. Space inspired them to grow-up and study the engineering subjects that are so vital to modern society. If you speak to the inventors of the internet, the cell phone, the MRI and most other modern wonders, their inspiration to work in these fields is almost always rooted in following the wondrous activities of the space program when they were children. Student enrollment for the STEM subjects in the US was never higher than during the Apollo Moon missions. So few students now enter these fields that this has become a serious problem threatening the future of many developed countries. Our lack of motivation for our kids is already coming back to haunt us all.

Today, the space program doesn’t do very much to inspire new generations. The US Space Shuttle was incapable of visiting the moon. It couldn’t fly more than 400 miles away from the Earth’s surface! And it took the Shuttle three decades and many billions of dollars just to build a single “house” in local orbit for 6 crew to live and work in — and nobody really knows what they do up there anyway!

Yet the costs of the government programs keep going up. And up.

THIS CYCLE MUST CHANGE.

Space can inspire us once again.

But modern politicians aren’t going to do it. This means that private companies must step-in and take up the challenge of dreaming of, and then creating, our own future.

Horizon was created to light that fire in the UK, in Europe and across the world.

We dream of a future where everyone has the opportunity to live and work in space, or just visit for a few days. Our challenge is to develop all of the technologies and the capabilities that will lead to humanity to become a space-faring species. We intend to reach out across this entire solar system and utilise all of the plentiful resources it offers.

This is a dream worth dedicating one’s life to achieving, and in so doing, we will try to inspire every man, woman and child to also do their part in benefiting us all.

Why is this called Horizon?

Whenever you travel, the Horizon is the place where new things first appear. New adventures, new sights, new experiences await us all, just over the Horizon. Where better to look for a bright new future?

Why are you based in the UK?

The UK offers the best opportunity for us to succeed. It provides a straight-forward and stable political foundation, good economic climate, and together with a strong technically capable workforce its engineering capabilities are respected throughout the world.

As a part of Europe, we have direct access to the largest single market in the world and the experienced and skilled workforce from across Europe is also readily available.

Do you build satellites too?

Lowering the cost of access to space is our primary focus, however we are also working on two new satellite systems. The first is a new Earth Observation platform that will feature some unique new capabilities. The second is designed to collect dangerous space debris in Low Earth Orbit. We currently hope to launch both of these systems in about 3-4 years time. We will reveal more about these projects soon.

Investors

When does the investment window open and close?

We have multiple investment opportunities, both small and large. Certified investors or institutions interested in learning more should contact Horizon by e-mail. The e-mail address is on our Contact page.

Are investors outside of the UK welcome?

Yes. We already have investor interest from four different continents.

Will Horizon be going public?

Perhaps, though we have no specific plans to at this time.