Rocket Factory Augsburg Mission4th Dec 2020
One of the latest RFA missions (Rocket Factory Augsburg AG) is to develop affordable launch technologies. OHB Group, a European technology corporation headquartered in Bremen, acts as its main strategic investor. OHB’s main focus is on satellite technology and missions. MT Aerospace, a subsidiary of OHB in Augsburg, is RFA’s technical partner.
RFA believes that fair and easy access to space will accelerate human evolution. To this end, the company is developing a service package for launching small satellites with its own light launch vehicle, RFA One.
According to the official RFA website, the Launcher will have two stages and 1100 kg payload capacity to SSO (up to 700 km). The rocket components are made from composite materials using 3D printing technology, which speeds up the construction process, reduces construction costs, and increases launch frequency. Similar companies in this niche include RocketLab (already launching), Firefly Aerospace (USA), Orbex, and Skyrora (UK).
RFA follows one key principle — to offer clients exactly what they need. This concerns orbit, payload, satellite bus, and flexibility requirements. The company strives to provide a fully integrated solution that increases the availability of launch services to a wide range of consumers. RFA manages the entire process independently without involving external partners, making RFA services fast and affordable.
Rocket Factory Augsburg: philosophy of the future
The company states that they plan to become the first-generation business that cleans up more than it pollutes. Indeed, the issue of launch toxicity is becoming more and more urgent. When burned, the fuel (highly toxic hydrazine) used in most rockets releases many harmful substances into the atmosphere. This has a detrimental effect on the environment.
Rocket Factory Augsburg wants to solve this problem, so they developed a fuel made from conventional building materials. It does not contain hydrazine and minimizes CO2 formation at all production stages.
At the moment, the company is testing all the stages of its RFA One rocket. Its first commercial launch is scheduled for 2022. The test launch is expected to take place from the Andøya Space Centre launch pad in Norway. The company also opened a test site in Esrange, northern Sweden, where it plans to conduct the first RFA One firing tests.
Furthermore, the startup intends to cooperate with car manufacturers. The company’s management is convinced this collaboration will ensure mass rocket production. According to Hans Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace, such a concept could guarantee up to twenty annual rocket launches in just a few years. One RFA rocket requires ten engines plus structural elements, which is 20 tons of 3D printed components per year; so, only mass production makes sense. Partnering up with experienced manufacturing companies can solve this problem.
If these plans prove successful, Rocket Factory Augsburg will have every chance of becoming one of the European leaders in the small satellite launch industry within the next few years.