ISAR Aerospace and Rocket Factory Augsburg Supported by DLR Develop Small Launch Vehicles

25th Aug 2020
Marco Fuchs, OHB Space

Thomas Jarzombek, the Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, reports that Startups ISAR Aerospace and HyImpulse Technologies, alongside OHB company Rocket Factory Augsburg work face-to-face to achieve the objectives, as the projects met approval according to technical and economic requirements. Each of them gets funds of €500,000 to further develop and implement their small launch vehicles ahead of a follow-on competition in the spring of 2021.

Small Launcher SL1

HyImpulse Technologies is a subsidiary of the German Aerospace Center, 40 staff members of which are in the process of developing a Small Launcher SL1 – Hybrid Propulsion based three-stage rocket. The head office of the company is located in Neuenstadt am Kocher.

Rocket Factory Augsburg: Two-Stage Rocket Launch Vehicle

Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) is part of the OHB Space and Aviation Group. The company has about 60 employees working on a two-stage carrier rocket powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene.

Marco Fuchs, OHB Space
Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB Space, Germany.

Spectrum Rocket by ISAR Aerospace

ISAR Aerospace is a subsidiary of the Technical University of Munich. The company employs 70 staff members developing a two-stage rocket called Spectrum, based on a propulsion system using liquid oxygen (LOX) and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Airbus Ventures invested $17 million into the company last year.  The cost of launching the Spectrum rocket is €15,000 for 1 kg of cargo.

The Award for the Competitors

After the introductory round of the competition for €500,000, during the main round in 2021, the first winner of the competition is to be selected with a reward of €11 million. In the third stage of the competition, in 2022, another prize of €11 million will be awarded.

Now the companies have pledged to accept the non-commercial cargo up to 150kg from DLR-selected universities and research institutes during test flights.

The Rockets Departure Point

Since Germany does not have its own spaceport, there is talk about the possible launch location. The representatives of OHB, to which Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) belongs, mentioned a potential rocket launch site in the North Sea. The company is also looking for employees for the Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. ISAR Aerospace signed a launch agreement with this spaceport in March 2020.

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