Airborne Engineering Limited (AEL) was established in 2001 to design, produce and test airborne instrumentation. Through developing a low thrust-misalignment solid propellant rocket nozzle for the QinetiQ-1 balloon, they became increasingly involved with rocket engine test and evaluation programmes.

In 2007, in collaboration with Reaction Engines and the University of Bristol, they carried out a research programme on expansion-deflection rocket nozzles (Project STERN). Due to the quick turnaround and success of this project, demand increased for propulsion test services and in 2009 they moved to Westcott Venture Park. The move enabled the rapid expansion of staff and capabilities by modernising and upgrading the existing RPE test infrastructure.

In recent years they have provided test services for rocket engines using a variety of solid, liquid and gaseous propellants. Market demand for ground support equipment has led to the development of propellant loading equipment that is now used for satellites at launch sites worldwide.

AEL’s unique combination of capabilities has allowed them to grow from strength to strength, and are now one of the UK’s leading propulsion research facilities and key providers in the UK’s space propulsion supply chain.

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