Rocket Factory UK Receives £3.5 million in Boost For SaxaVord Launch Plans

27th Oct 2023
Rocket Factory UK Receives £3.5 million in Boost For SaxaVord Launch Plans

Private satellite launch company RFA UK (Rocket Factory Ltd) has been awarded £3.5 million in funding to support its new launch technologies. The funding has been provided as part of the Boost! Programme which helps companies to develop their new space technologies.

The funding will be used to help to develop and utilise the equipment they need for their planned Q2 launch in 2024 from SaxaVord spaceport.

About Rocket Factory UK

RFA UK is a subsidiary of Rocket Factory Augsburg AG, and their UK branch is based in Grantown-on-Spey. They will access the Fredo launch pad at SaxaVord and provide their services to the wider industry. RFA claims that around 90 jobs will be created when their SaxaVord Spaceport operation is fully operational.

The RFA ONE launch vehicle is the rocket that will be deploying payloads into space, using Helix staged-combustion engines for an eco-friendly and lower cost method of propulsion. The rocket is 30 metres tall and 2 metres wide.

George Freeman MP, Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, explained the benefits of the investment:

“This £3.5 million investment will enable RFA UK to develop the technologies necessary to launch from SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland, creating dozens of jobs locally and growing the Scottish cluster as a key part of the UK space sector.” 

RFA UK has the goal of operating launch-specific system and test equipment for the launches from SaxaVord, and Jörn Spurmann, Managing Director of RFA UK, praised the UKSA for their support:

“The support received from the UK Space Agency underscores their strong confidence in our approach. We are eagerly anticipating our inaugural orbital launch in mainland Europe from the SaxaVord Spaceport on British territory. This event will further cement our position as the pioneers in European commercial spaceflight. At the same time, it demonstrates the unwavering confidence the European Space Agency has in our strategy.”

The UKSA continues to provide funding to establish the launch operations from SaxaVord and even create a small launch manoeuvring vehicle, with £23.4 million given two separate grants to Lockheed Martin to aid their pathfinder launch. The space agency’s dedication to the spaceport will hugely benefit the UK’s launch plans for 2024. 

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