Rocket Factory receives Portuguese support to extend ESA Boost! contract
(12 February 2021 - Rocket Factory) Rocket Factory Augsburg is extending its contract in Boost! – ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support program signed in November 2020.
Rocket Factory activated a contract option with ESA for production and testing of the orbital stage demonstrator of its launch vehicle RFA ONE based on the great support of the Portuguese Space Agency, Portugal Space. Partners on the project are CEiiA, a Portuguese Engineering and Development Center, and RFA Portugal, a subsidiary of Rocket Factory. Back in November, Rocket Factory had already received support from ESA for the development of the first stage demonstrator.
(courtesy: Rocket Factory)
“Extending our ESA Boost! Contract underlines our position at the forefront of commercialization of European space transportation,” said Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. “We are very happy that the Portuguese Space Agency enables this program and we are very proud to be a substantial part of the emerging Portuguese Space Industry.”
Within the scope of the contract option, Rocket Factory will be qualifying the orbital stage demonstrator for its launch vehicle. The activities under the scope of this project cover engineering analysis, manufacturing as well as testing of the orbital stage manufacturing demonstrator for a successful proof-of-concept and final qualification towards its respective industrialization roadmap milestones throughout 2021.
Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operating Officer at RFA, added, “The orbital stage developed here will allow us to provide unmatched flexibility with respect to mission capabilities. We are excited to engage with our Portuguese development partner CEiiA on this project, to leverage their unrivalled track-record with respect to developing ultra-competitive composite products.”
“The Portuguese Space Agency welcomes and actively support the joint effort of RFA Portugal and CEiiA, to develop structural components of a new generation micro-launcher in Portugal. This marks an important next step in the effort to move Portugal up the added-value chain in the space sector. Through its activities, RFA Portugal and CEiiA will contribute to one of the key objectives advocated by Portugal Space: the democratisation of access and use of Space for the benefit of society and economy in the country and worldwide.
All these activities contribute to the creation of highly qualified jobs in an ultra-innovative sector, helping create critical mass, that will be fundamental to the economic recovery plan design for the country.”, stated Ricardo Conde, President of the Portuguese Space Agency, Portugal Space.
“The establishment of a strong partnership with RFA towards the development of a breakthrough orbital-stage for Europe’s most innovative micro-launcher is not only an outstanding opportunity for Portugal to be at the forefront on the development of complex space systems, but also a great challenge for CEiiA’s engineering team. We are excited to start the activities and certain that this collaboration will be of great success for all parties on-board.”, said Tiago Rebelo, Chief Technology Officer at CEiiA.
About ESA Boost
The “Boost! – ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support” program co-funds and assists the pre-commercial development of new European space transportation services, providing flexible and tailored support to the needs of European operators pursuing privately-led developments for commercially viable new space transportation services.
Rocket Factory was founded in 2018 by Jörn Spurmann and Stefan Brieschenk, investor Hans Steininger and German satellite company OHB SE. The goal of the start-up is to develop a launch vehicle prototype by the end of 2022, which will lift satellites into low-Earth orbit on a weekly basis at unrivalled prices. Rocket Factory aims for exponential growth in the booming New Space market. The start-up’s goal is to combine highest system performances with ultra-low cost manufacturing and design principles. Rocket Factory will deliver satellites precisely into orbit with a unique orbital transfer vehicle, thinking space transportation from the satellite and customer point of view. The launcher will offer an end-to-end solution with its last mile delivery service. The launch vehicle combines three key competitive advantages: ultra-low-cost architecture, precise in-orbit delivery and superior propulsion technology. The start-up has established itself in Augsburg and currently has a team of 85 (as of February 2021) New Space veterans from 25 different nationalities, with a demonstrated track-record established in international launch vehicle development projects.
CEiiA is a Centre of Engineering and Product Development focused on fostering sustainability and quality of life, while addressing complex challenges across the board and working in high-tech sectors such as, automotive and mobility, aeronautics, ocean and space. CEiiA’s vision is to establish Portugal as a reference within these high-tech industries, contributing to a more sustainable society, and developing technologies, products and systems conceived, industrialized and operated from Portugal. CEiiA operates in the global market, having a subsidiary in Brazil and engineering teams deployed in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France and Italy. Currently, CEiiA has a team of +300 Researchers and Engineers presently involved in Development & Engineering activities with integrated product and process development methodologies, based upon full capabilities for product development including concept, design, research, engineering, prototyping and testing of materials and full-scale structures.