The SLV (Small Launch Vehicle) Project

The SLV (Small Launch Vehicle) Project was designing a rocket to launch small satellites from the UK.

The SLV9, one possible version (click to enlarge)

All aspects were being studied. The launch configurations under consideration were based not just on technical merit, but also on whether they could support a business model that could provide access to space for payloads at prices that customers were prepared to pay.

The SLV Project recognised that orbital launches from the UK imposed constraints best met by a vehicle designed for the purpose rather than imported from elsewhere. The design process included state of the art trajectory analysis to ensure that realistic and safe ascents to orbit could be made from the UK’s unique physical and regulatory environment.


Below: An SLV9 IHT (Intercepted Hohmann Transfer) ascent from Unst in the Shetland Islands to a 500 km altitude SSO orbit, inclination 97.5° (Click to enlarge)


The SLV Project had evolved from the “BIS NLV Feasibility Study” that began in early 2016 and produced a “Final Report” in April 2018. This concluded that orbital access to space from the UK was feasible and could be investor funded, and implemented by a vertical-launch vehicle from the north of Scotland. (For a copy see “Further Information” below.) During this initial study, papers were also presented at various space conferences such as RISpace 2017 and 2018, and articles appeared in the BIS ‘Spaceflight’ magazine.

Phase 2
After the publication of the Final Report in 2018, “Phase 2” of the work began in order to examine various aspects in more detail. Project members continued to meet at the BIS HQ in London for Working Days every three months or so, interspersed by regular Skype sessions supplemented by email contact. However this phase has now been completed and the project has ended.

Further information
To download a pdf copy of the original BIS NLV study 2018 “Final Report”:
(i) For part 1 only (179 KB) click here
(ii) For the full version (3.1 MB) click here


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