Prodrive leads the space race
Filed under: News
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket has blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying satellite components manufactured by British motorsport business, Prodrive. The rocket will deploy the Cibola Flight Experiment payload developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA and will be used for ionospheric and lightning studies. The satellite’s special lightweight panels, which carry the imaging equipment, were manufactured by Prodrive in Banbury by combining the skills of its motorsport machining and composites operation. With increasing interest from the aerospace industry for its skills, Prodrive has now launched a new specialist manufacturing operation to produce components for businesses outside the automotive and motorsport sectors.
Chairman, David Richards, said: “This is a first for Prodrive and quite possibly any motorsport business. However, I believe it will become increasingly common in the future as the skills and manufacturing capabilities we have in the motorsport industry are ideally suited to the demands of aerospace and other high tech businesses where the development of innovative products, which work in demanding environments is paramount.”
The Atlas V which took the payload into space is one of the most powerful commercial rockets. At take off it produces 3.8 mega newtons (860,000 lbft) of thrust - that is the same as nearly 2000 World Rally Cars or more than 3000 Formula One cars.