The UK space industry is currently the fastest expanding industry in terms of investment and new startups. Hethel Engineering Centre’s very own Raptor Aerospace, fronted by Ben Jarvis, are currently in the early stages of development and actively seeking investment. Here’s their story so far…

If you were to be told that today in a quiet corner of Norfolk there is a one-man-band designing and engineering rockets, you’d be told you are out of your mind. The startling reality is we could begin to see more and more rockets being launched out of our atmosphere, as Hethel Engineering Centre based Raptor Aerospace continues to develop small scale rockets for used for testing purposes.

Raptor Aerospace have already secured one client, of whom they are launching for already, carrying subsystems and components for their planned satellite launcher. This will enable the client a more successful launch through reduced risk, and Raptor have began to work capturing other areas of the small rocket market.

Following the trend of confirmed launch sites in Scotland and Devon among others, Raptor are also aiming to work alongside spaceports and other companies growing the UK space industry. This will enable the creation of training programs to train staff who will, in future, be responsible for the safety and successful operation of massive satellite launching rockets from those spaceports and give a hands-on experience with launch operations.

Ben, over the last 6 months has already participated heavily with schools across Norfolk and Suffolk, working alongside Hethel Innovation to deliver stem days. These days include creating bottle rockets activated by stomping on pumps.

Raptor is in discussions with schools in Suffolk to explore the possibility of engaging students in real-world

“We are going to use our innovative ‘hybrid’ rocket engines that we have been working on for over 20 years that use liquid nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and polyethene (carrier bag material) as their fuel. We have led the world in making all-composite hybrid rockets with minimal metal components and hope to continue that work in Norfolk over the next couple of years.”

fabrication briefs to make parts of the rockets and projects that could lead to a student team setting a new European rocket altitude record next year, depending on local support and sponsorship.

Ben intends to make many more connections with other schools, colleges and universities in Norfolk and Suffolk to expand the work and give Norfolk a real edge in producing graduates with real hands-on experience in rockets and space technology. Doing so will ensure they really stand out in the work market as the sector continues to grow and receive investment.

The latest launch conducted by Raptor Aerospace can be seen overleaf, and shows the Kestrel which reached heights of 20,000 ft and speeds of Mach 1.5 (1.5 times the speed of sound). Ben hopes to be flying the Kestrel to over heights of 100,000 ft, or 20 miles altitude, within the next 8 months.

Ben is currently seeking equity investment within Raptor Aerospace, please contact Jordan at jsharman@hethelinnovation.com to be introduced.