Fully booked! DLR selects seven customers for RFA´s inaugural flight

German government purchased 150 kg for each of the first two flights of RFA ONE

DLR selects seven customers for RFA´s inaugural flight

Berlin – December 6, 2022 – Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced the winners of the microlauncher payload competition at an event in Berlin today. According to the announcement, seven companies with a total payload of 136kg will launch on the first flight of RFA ONE. No other small launch provider was entrusted with payload from so many customers for their first flight. The application round for RFA ONE’s second flight is still open.

 

After winning the April 2022 DLR microlauncher competition, RFA received €11 million in prize money and won the German government as an anchor customer for its first two flights. Satellite manufacturers, research institutes, and start-ups were then invited to apply over an DLR Announcement of Opportunity for these flights. A jury now chose the seven winners for RFA ONE´s first launch, which will fly into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km. There, the satellites will be precisely deployed and can be swiftly commissioned to carry out their mission. The launch is scheduled for late 2023. The application deadline for the second RFA launch approaches in April 2023.

With a fully booked volume for the first flight, RFA can reaffirm its leadership on a technological and commercial level. No other small launch provider was entrusted with payload from so many customers for their first flight.

“We are proud to have so much capacity booked on our first flight with these seven customers. The full utilization of the payload capacity available to DLR is a strong vote of confidence in our product and services, as well as in us as a company and team,” says Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. He adds, “The collaboration with DLR is very beneficial for both sides and the German concept is a role model in Europe that others are adopting. We should continue to expand and develop it in order to be able to launch even more payloads into orbit flexibly and cost-effectively. The demand is definitely there.”

The payload competition is embedded in the microlauncher competition of the German Space Agency at DLR. The goal of this program is to advance the commercialization of European spaceflight and to improve the autonomy and competitiveness of companies and research institutions, especially in the field of smaller payloads.

“Technological excellence and cost-efficient value creation processes are the basis for positioning oneself successfully in the dynamic and growing small satellite market. Start-ups and SMEs play an essential role here due to their agility,” says Walther Pelzer, Member of the DLR Executive Board and Director General of the German Space Agency at DLR. “The reliable prospect of public contracts helps young companies in particular to secure funding. Our microlauncher and payload competitions are key elements here,” adds Pelzer, referring to the role of the state as an anchor customer.”

The seven companies that will be on board the first flight of RFA ONE are in detail:

 

AllBertEinStein

TU Munich

Germany

For the AllBert EinStein project, precisely characterized artificial meteoroids shall be launched into space on an upper stage. The objects will have diameters of 5 cm and 10 cm consisting of iron and rocky material, thus mimicking real meteoroids. Only after the de-orbit burn of the upper stage, the meteoroids will be deployed and therefore all objects will enter the atmosphere on a well-known trajectory. The optical radiation of the resulting fireballs and its spectral composition will be recorded via an airborne observation campaign.

 

More info: https://www.asg.ed.tum.de/lrt/forschung/exploration-technologies/allbert-einstein/

ARTICA

SPACEMIND (NPC – New Production Concept SRL)

Italy

In-orbit demonstration of ARTICA CubeSat Deorbiting System, a device capable of deorbiting a satellite passively and autonomously at the end of its life, to assure sustainable access to space.

 

More info: https://www.npcspacemind.com/in-space-now/

Curium Two

PTS – Planetary Transportations Systems

Germany

The mission is designed to test and validate new electronics such as GPU’s and sensors for future commercial space missions. For this, the components are installed as payloads within a commercial cubesat platform and could be individually powered on and off for testing purposes over a longer period in space (ideally +12months).

 

More info: https://www.pts.space/

ERMINAZ

AMSAT-Deutschland e.V.

Germany

The mission proposed is a syndicated, multi-PocketQube mission (1x 2P + 2x 1.5P + 3x 1P, total of 6 PQs), involving several EU countries, the amateur radio community, AMSAT-DL, AMSAT-EA (Spain), ESERO-Deutschland (Bochum Observatory), Libre Space Foundation (Greece) and other EU non-profit organizations or institutions. They work to create open-source space technologies for educational purposes and to promote, advance and develop knowledge for space. Using PocketQube technology will allow them to maximize the mission impact, involving several institutions, universities, and teams.

 

More info: https://amsat-dl.org/

PCIOD

DCUBED

Germany

Over the last 1.5 years, DCUBED together with partners developed a deployable NanoSat 100W solar array that fits in a 1U stowage volume. The activity was carried out under a ESA Artes AT. In this activity an EM was built and tested (vibe, shock, TVAC). DCUBED has already started building the FM with Bavarian state funding. Now, they are launching an IOD mission for their PowerCube 100W 1U solar array. The array is a subsystem that can be mounted directly on the launcher platform (e.g. kickstage) and deploy after all other satellites are released. The PCIOD can then be de-orbited directly with the upper/kickstage.

 

More info: https://dcubed.space/

Separation Ring Mission

SPACEMIND (NPC – New Production Concept SRL)

Italy

The mission aims to in-orbit demonstrate the functioning of a re-scaled separation ring for nanosatellites. The ring will be contained in a modified 12U deployer to minimize the risk to cause damage to the other payloads in case of malfunctioning. The ring is mounted on a fixed plate inside the customized deployer (no ejection springs are present in the deployer) and, when the deployer opens the doors, the ring will be activated releasing a small sat.

 

More info: https://www.npcspacemind.com/in-space-now/

SpaceDREAM

Kinetik Space

Germany

A small form factor, light weight, robotic arm will be directly mounted on the orbital stage vehicle of RFA. The arm is equipped with a magnetic end effector. A free-floating Cubesat 1U, tethered to the orbital stage, will be “released” (but still tethered), then recaptured using the magnetic coupling of the robotic arm.  The robotic arm will demonstrate autonomous operation to capture of a free-floating object, as well as the vision tracking capabilities.

 

More info: http://kinetikspace.com/

About the German Space Agency at DLR

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is the Federal Republic of Germany’s research centre for aeronautics and space. The organisation also conducts research and development activities in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport, security and digitalisation. Within DLR the German Space Agency implements the Federal Government’s space strategy. More than 330 employees based in Bonn coordinate all of the German space activities at national and European levels and represents German space interests worldwide on behalf of the Federal Government. The tasks of German Space Agency at DLR include the planning and implementation of the national space programme and the management of Germany’s contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

About Rocket Factory

Rocket Factory Augsburg was founded in 2018 with the vision to enable data generating business models in space to better monitor, protect and connect our planet Earth. Against this background, the company’s goal is to offer launch services of up to 1.300kg into low Earth orbits and beyond on a weekly basis at unmatched prices. With this, RFA wants to democratize access to space and reduce the launch costs in the space industry. The RFA ONE launch service combines three key competitive advantages: A customer focused service with precise in-orbit delivery and a high degree of mission flexibility through its orbital stage; at a highly competitive price; made possible by superior staged combustion technology, low-cost structures and usage of industrial components.

Media Contact RFA:

Mr. Jonas Kellner

Telefon +49 821 999576-21

Email: jonas.kellner@rfa.space

Rocket Factory Augsburg AG

Berliner Allee 65

86153 Augsburg

Germany

Chairman of the Supervisory Board: Jean-Jacques Dordain

Board of Directors: Stefan Tweraser, Stefan Brieschenk, Jörn Spurmann

Seat of the company: Augsburg

Registry Court: AG Augsburg, HRB 34251

USt-ID/Tax-ID: DE319402838

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