RFA To Receive €30 million For SaxaVord Launchpad

9th Aug 2023
RFA To Receive €30 million For SaxaVord Launchpad

Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) is set to receive €30 million – or £26 million – from global investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The investment will fund RFA’s launchpad at SaxaVord spaceport, after they gained exclusive access to one of three launch pads. Located in Unst, Shetland Isles, Scotland, the spaceport will also facilitate RFA’s inaugural launch of their micro launcher, RFA One

KKR’s backing of the German company came after they successfully completed Europe’s first hotfire test in May this year. Speaking on the investment, Stefan Tweraser, CEO at RFA, said: “partnering with KKR as a long-term investor… [will] support RFA towards our first launch next year and beyond.”    

Funding RFA With €30 million

RFA is yet to complete its first launch, but their technological developments are drawing attention. Their upper-stage Helix engine full duration hotfire test was a driving factor for the €30 million investment, RFA said. 

Christian Ollig, Partner and Head of the DACH region at KKR, said: “KKR is excited to support RFA in its efforts to revolutionise access to space. [This] is crucial for emerging technologies that will shape our future.” The funding injection makes the global finance company a major investor alongside existing lender OHB. 

SaxaVord Spaceport & RFA One Launch

Source: SaxaVord Spaceport

KKR’s hefty investment will enable RFA to complete their launchpad in preparation for a Q2 2024 launch date. Their upcoming integrated test of their RFA One first stage will also receive capital from the investment company. Additional funding will be used to bring their micro launcher to the SaxaVord launchpad. 

In a first for both the UK and RFA, RFA One will be the German company’s first launch. For Britain however, the micro launcher will be the UK’s first vertical launch when it blasts off from SaxaVord spaceport. But, the Scottish spaceport will need to receive its launch licence before history can be made.

“A Fresh Vote Of Confidence”

RFA said they’re in an ideal position to benefit from the investment and market opportunity. Demand for cost-effective and flexible launch offering is consistently increasing. Therefore, “the fresh funding is a vote of confidence… as global demand for access to space continues to grow,” RFA said. 

With major investment companies backing RFA, they are aspiring to utilise spaceports across the globe. “You cannot do this just from one launch pad alone, and thus speed, in our go-to-market model, is one of the drivers behind that idea of early globalisation,” Mr Tweraser told Orbital Today.

Ms Ollig added: “[RFA’s] track record of achieving technical milestones and their unwavering focus on cost leadership are precisely the right strategy for future success in the global marketplace. We look forward to supporting RFA on its growth path.”

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