The SLV (Small Launch Vehicle) Project


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

The SLV9, one possible version (click to enlarge)

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

The SLV Project recognises that orbital launches from the UK impose constraints best met by a vehicle designed for the purpose rather than imported from elsewhere. The design process includes 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.

This is the launch vehicle that is doing its homework!


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) (Generated using the ESA promoted ‘ASTOS’ trajectory simulation software –


The SLV Project has 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.

Current work
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 continue 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.

Like to take part?
Email [email protected]

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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