Rocket Factory Augsburg’s End to End Satellite Launch Service25th Mar 2021
German aerospace company Rocket Factory Augsburg will focus on the serial production of its own RFA One launchers, which will be used by Germany’s largest space operator Exolaunch. This partnership will provide End to End Satellite Launch Service to a wide range of customers.
Rocket Factory Augsburg & German space ambitions
Rocket factory Augsburg was founded in 2018 and had been developing rapidly since then. Today, its staff has grown to 85 employees, most of whom have 5+ years of experience working with launch vehicles.
The company’s original mission was to provide a fast and flexible end-to-end satellite launch service. It implied delivery of satellites and groups of satellites to the calculated orbits and additional placement to the positioning points. Here, the key advantage was the service’s optimal compliance with the client’s requests.
To this end, the company attracted first investments, started developing its own carrier RFA One, signed agreements for firing tests with a Sweden launch pad, and started collaborating with the ESA to support young aerospace startups within the ESA Boost program.
RFA understood that in order to compete, each RFA satellite launch and the rocket itself had to meet all the modern launch market’s demands. They imply:
- cost-effectiveness (simple and affordable to manufacture)
- reliable and powerful propulsion system
- quick launch preparation
- optimal parameters for launching small satellites into different orbits
- ability to ensure the most accurate payload delivery into orbit
RFA technical parameters have not yet been specified as development continues. But, according to preliminary information from publicly available sources, it will be a three-stage rocket with a payload of up to 200kg to SSO and up to 1500kg for LEO. More detailed information can be requested on the company’s website.
Focus on space rocket serial production
In August 2020, Rocket Factory Augsburg and Germany’s largest small satellite launch operator, Exolaunch, signed an agreement stating that the companies will exchange developments and expertise for delivering small satellites into orbit. RFA is expected to focus on the serial production of launch vehicles for Exolaunch, which currently has 100 satellites in orbit, with 50 more on the way.
Another thing that confirms the company’s change of plans is that RFA removed all information about the end-to-end satellite launch service from its website. It makes perfect sense if we consider that everyone should do what they do best. In this scenario, Exolaunch will send satellites into space, and Rocket Factory Augsburg will provide its launch services for the mission.
The Portugal Space Agency, along with the Portuguese Centre of Engineering and Product Development CEiiA, should help accelerate RFA One creation. This collaboration will cover the design, production, and testing of a rocket’s orbital stage prototype, all of which will take place in Portugal.
“The orbital stage developed here will allow us to provide unprecedented flexibility in terms of mission capabilities,” RFA officials have announced. Rocket Factory Augsburg hopes to make its first RFA satellite launch in 2022.