“This partnership is pivotal, it allows RFA and Andøya to launch the first satellite into orbit from continental Europe with an European launcher” said Dr. Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operation Officer of RFA.
Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer of RFA, added, “Andøya Space is the most advanced micro launcher spaceport project in Europe. We believe to have found the best partner to start with the delivery of our end to end launch service to our customers in 2022.”
Andøya Space is developing the new launch complex on Andøya island, 35 km south of their existing sub-orbital launch site. This new site will provide operators of vehicles in the 1.5t payload class with independent integration facilities and access to two launch pads with necessary support infrastructure.
Rocket Factory, a start-up backed by the German satellite manufacturer OHB as a strategic investor and Munich-based venture capital firm Apollo Capital Partners, currently is developing a launcher system called RFA ONE for small satellites with a payload performance of up to 1.500kg to low earth orbit (LEO). The first launch is scheduled for 2022. The company recently qualified the upper stage tank system during cryogenic tests and is currently preparing hot-fire tests of the main engine in Esrange, Sweden.
“We are convinced that Rocket Factory is one of the most progressive SSLV companies in Europe. Having them commit to Andøya Space as a partner is of great significance to us. We are developing an efficient multi-user launch site in Norway, and Rocket Factory has the technical capabilities, the same innovative culture, and the enthusiastic team we need in a partner to help us take the spaceport initiative forward. We look forward to supporting them in their missions to polar- and sun synchronous orbits.”, said Odd Roger Enoksen, CEO and President of Andøya Space.
RFA is at the forefront of the global new-space launch vehicle development, with its state-of-the-art staged-combustion engine technology. This high-performance engine design, coupled to lowest-possible-cost production techniques, is essentially new to Europe, and through the support of OHB, RFA has managed to acquire key technologies and key talent that will propel the business case of the RFA One launch vehicle to dominate the market on a global scale. Recent firing tests have demonstrated that RFA is on a winning path to establish Europe’s most efficient and powerful rocket engine technology. Recently, RFA won the first round of the micro-launcher competition of the German Space Agency DLR, which granted RFA a letter of support to submit a proposal to ESA’s Boost! programme.
Since its foundation in August 2018, RFA established a team of 75 (as of September 2020) New Space veterans from 20 different nationalities having a demonstrated track record from previous small launcher projects. An own turbopump prototype was developed from scratch and has undergone first successful tests mid-2019. The Upper stage tank qualification under cryogenic conditions was successfully conducted beginning 2020. At the same time an engine test site is being implemented in Sweden, which will host the hot-fire test of the RFA staged combustion engine from September 2020 onwards. On top, the avionics system test readiness will be given by fall 2020 and RFA will be happy to report about first successful hardware in the loop test results. All system developments being executed in parallel, RFA is happy to present the status of the upcoming integrated stage test next the year. For more information, visit: www.rfa.space
Andøya Space has 58 years of experience in sub-orbital rocket operations for upper-atmospheric research. It also provides space education course up to under-graduate level, conducts missile testing, offers training & flight certification for UAV operations and has capabilities in scientific balloon operations and ground-based ionospheric observation facilities. Andøya Space is owned by the Norwegian Government (90%) and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace. The company received full support from the Norwegian parliament as well as their owners in June to build the spaceport. www.andoyaspace.no