Author Topic: Rocket Factory Augsburg  (Read 58288 times)

Offline EnigmaSCADA

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Rocket Factory Augsburg
« on: 08/28/2019 05:19 pm »
I ran across this article yesterday from Bloomberg.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-27/german-space-firm-enters-rocket-business-shaken-up-by-elon-musk

BUT... I haven't found this discussed anywhere here, no official press release on OHB's site, nor any other source other than the one linked above. I freely admit there might just be a "user error" on my end. However I find this very very odd. The Bloomberg article quotes the CEO afterall, it's not like some random employee that's making things up. I'm very confused how this could be just casually talked about in a random interview with no accompanying press release, media blitz, social media blitz, making all necessary OHB execs available for media, etc, etc...

What am I missing? Is this a case of the CEO jumping the gun and catching his organization's com/PR people completely surprised and unprepared? Is there a communication breakdown between Bloomberg & OHB CEO that went comically awry?

Can anyone link to anything else that supports the claim that OHB is currently/plans to develop it's own launcher?
« Last Edit: 08/17/2020 03:11 pm by gongora »

Offline TorenAltair

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Re: OHB to develop a small launcher?
« Reply #1 on: 08/28/2019 10:20 pm »
German news says that the new company created for that rocket is Rocket Factory Augsburg GmbH which is a subsidiary company of MT Aerospace which is a subsidiary company of OHB.

MT aerospace opened a new factory in June 2018 in Augsburg for parts of Ariane 6. It seems that the Rocket Factory Augsburg GmbH shares the facility. Rocket Factory Augsburg GmbH was founded in June 2018 as well.

MT Aerospace writes on their website:
Quote
Unseren unermüdlichen Drang nach Verbesserung setzen wir auch bei der Entwicklung von zukunftsweisenden Mikro-Startraketen in unserer Rocket Factory ein.

In case you want to know more, I can research further.


Offline Olaf

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Re: OHB to develop a small launcher?
« Reply #2 on: 08/30/2019 04:50 am »
https://www.weser-kurier.de/bremen/bremen-wirtschaft_artikel,-ohb-baut-eigene-traegerrakete-_arid,1856188.html
Confirmed here, first flight in 2021, build in Augsburg, but no more details.

Offline Tywin

Re: OHB to develop a small launcher?
« Reply #3 on: 09/08/2019 04:32 am »
Maybe this rocket have relation with VLM-1 of Brazilian space agency, with German collaboration?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VLM_(rocket)

Report from the blog "Brazilian Space":

https://brazilianspace.blogspot.com/2019/09/solid-motor-housing-for-possible.html




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Offline Tywin

Re: OHB to develop a small launcher?
« Reply #4 on: 11/20/2019 08:37 pm »
New information about the micro launcher of OHB...

With this information, the rocket, don't have any connection with the Brazilian VLM-1....



Quote
OHB hopes to have a small launcher capable of sending 200 kilograms to low Earth orbit conduct a first flight by the end of 2021, Fuchs said in an interview at Space Tech Expo Europe here. The German prime contractor established an entity called Rocket Factory Augsburg to spearhead the small launcher program.


Quote
Even so, OHB will need to develop new competencies, such as engines, since the company plans to build those systems in house. OHB currently envisions the launcher being a three-stage liquid propulsion rocket designed completely from scratch, he said.

“We are not naive about building all these things you need for a rocket, but we feel we are better positioned than many of the startups,” he said.

https://spacenews.com/ohb-defends-self-funded-launcher-effort/
« Last Edit: 11/20/2019 08:39 pm by Tywin »
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: OHB to develop a small launcher?
« Reply #5 on: 12/29/2019 10:54 am »
New information about the micro launcher of OHB...

With this information, the rocket, don't have any connection with the Brazilian VLM-1....

Quote
“We are not naive about building all these things you need for a rocket, but we feel we are better positioned than many of the startups,” he said.

https://spacenews.com/ohb-defends-self-funded-launcher-effort/
Interesting.

I like their plan to self fund and their realism about their chances of success. Self fund means they can (in theory) make decisions fast and iterate the design quickly. I also like their plan to build most major components in house.  Keep in mind their experience with Arianespace gives them substantial knowledge of cryogenic tanking and the benefits of common bulkhead design.

I think they could almost be the German equivalent to SNC, had SNC decided to build a small ELV.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022 TBC. T&C apply. Trust nothing. Run your own #s "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap SCramjet proposed 1956. First +ve thrust 2004. US R&D spend to date > $10Bn. #deployed designs. Zero.

Offline Kosmos2001

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg (OHB) small launcher
« Reply #6 on: 02/25/2020 09:19 pm »
They are going for an aerospike.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg (OHB) small launcher
« Reply #7 on: 06/29/2020 05:34 pm »
Updated: First launcher in the RFA family designated RFA-1:


Quote
RFA-1 is a small liquid fueled orbital launch vehicle, which is being developed by Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), Germany, a subsidiary of OHB System.
...


LINK: https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_lau/rfa-1.htm

Online gongora

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg (OHB) RFA-1
« Reply #8 on: 08/17/2020 03:11 pm »
https://spacewatch.global/2020/08/exolaunch-signs-agreement-with-rocket-factory-augsburg-on-launch-services/
Quote
Berlin-based rideshare solutions provider Exolaunch signed a wide-ranging MOU with Germany-based launch service provider, Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), to provide end-to-end launch services for small satellites, with Exolaunch procuring launch capacities from RFA.
...
Rocket Factory, a start-up backed by the German satellite maker OHB as a strategic investor and Venture Capital firm Apollo Capital Partners, is currently developing an LEO launcher system called RFA One for small satellites with a payload performance of up to 300kg. The first launch is scheduled for 2022, and the company recently qualified the upper-stage tank system during cryogenic tests. Currently they are preparing hot-fire tests of the main engine in Esrange, Sweden.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2020 03:12 pm by gongora »

Offline CameronD

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #9 on: 09/29/2020 12:15 am »
Quote
First in Europe. Again.

RFA is thrilled to announce the signature of a groundbreaking MoU with Andoya Space to implement the launch site for RFA ONE maiden flight. As the first European orbital launch service provider, RFA will provide launch services to customers worldwide from 2022 onwards launching out of Norway.

We are looking forward to many successful missions launching from Andoya Spaceport!
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline CameronD

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #10 on: 10/02/2020 01:46 am »
Andoya Space Center posted a news release about the contract of RFA becoming a client for their (in development) spaceport.
(It contains some more images)
Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for maiden launch

Nice launch site!  How far has the Andøya Space "in development" progressed?  Are they anywhere near starting to build??
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #11 on: 10/02/2020 02:01 pm »
Loosely speaking it looks like OHB is going in the reverse direction to Rocket Lab. Starting in the satellite components area, then moving into supplying complete satellites and now the LV as well.

Just an impression. I'm sure the German business environment is very different to that of NZ and Ca.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022 TBC. T&C apply. Trust nothing. Run your own #s "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¬cheap SCramjet proposed 1956. First +ve thrust 2004. US R&D spend to date > $10Bn. #deployed designs. Zero.

Offline ringsider

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg (OHB) RFA-1
« Reply #12 on: 10/04/2020 03:28 pm »
Rocket Factory, a start-up backed by the German satellite maker OHB as a strategic investor and Venture Capital firm Apollo Capital Partners.

The "Apollo Capital Partners" firm seems to be run by MT Aerospace's CEO, and only seems to have an investment in MT Aerospace, which is of course OHB:

http://www.apollopartners.de/team-management.html
https://www.mt-aerospace.de/management.html
« Last Edit: 10/04/2020 03:29 pm by ringsider »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #13 on: 10/04/2020 04:50 pm »
I don't know precisely how RFA, OHB and MTaerospace are structured and related to each other.
MTaerospace produses the steel casings for the Ariane5 boosters. This work will stop. I think they are trying to repurpose these factories. And at the same time they improve acces to space.
Europe used to rely on Dnepr and (EU)Rockot, both aren't available anymore. Vega replaced it, but another launcher for small to medium (<2mT) payloads is welcome.

Offline CorvusCorax

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #14 on: 10/20/2020 10:34 am »
RFA apparently is in talks with the german government - together with new space companies Isar Aerospace and HyImpulse for a sea-launch facility in the North Sea - within German territorial waters - for launches to a polar launch corridor.

More info here:

...

Offline MiqBos

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #15 on: 11/05/2020 09:02 pm »
How far has the Andøya Space "in development" progressed?  Are they anywhere near starting to build??

It seems so. The Norwegian government has earmarked around 40 million $ (a) to start construction (in a previous post in their website they say that they need around 140 million $ (b) to build the facility). The project seems to be complete, and they are hiring right now. For example: Launch Area Manager: Project position for 2-3 years until the spaceport construction is complete (...).(c)

Sources:
a) https://spacenews.com/german-startup-rocket-factory-augsburg-picks-norway-for-maiden-flight-of-rfa-one-smallsat-launcher/
b) https://www.andoyaspaceport.no/2019/03/26/europes-first-spaceport-should-be-placed-in-norway/
c) https://www.andoyaspace.no/2020/09/28/exciting-new-job-opportunities-at-andoya-space/
« Last Edit: 11/06/2020 12:54 am by gongora »

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #16 on: 12/17/2020 11:09 am »
RFA apparently is in talks with the german government - together with new space companies Isar Aerospace and HyImpulse for a sea-launch facility in the North Sea - within German territorial waters - for launches to a polar launch corridor.

https://www.offshore-spaceport.de/en/
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Offline CameronD

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #17 on: 12/18/2020 02:01 am »
RFA apparently is in talks with the german government - together with new space companies Isar Aerospace and HyImpulse for a sea-launch facility in the North Sea - within German territorial waters - for launches to a polar launch corridor.

https://www.offshore-spaceport.de/en/

I think I've seen something like that before..
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=45766.180
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Mighty-T

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #18 on: 02/13/2021 07:57 am »
https://twitter.com/esa_sts/status/1360314011246600198

Looks like there will be a Rocket Factory in Portugal too  8)

Offline ringsider

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #19 on: 02/14/2021 05:42 pm »
Slightly odd announcement from RFA, stating they are "open to new investors":-

https://www.rfa.space/rocket-factory-opens-up-to-further-investors/

Microlauncher start-up Rocket Factory opens up to further investors

Investor Hans Steininger announces unrivalled low price of EUR 3 million per rocket launch / Serial production enables cost leadership / Financing round to raise EUR 25 million 

Bremen, Augsburg – February 11, 2021  

At the Capital Market Day of space technology group OHB SE (Prime Standard, ISIN DE0005936124), Augsburg-based start-up Rocket Factory announced today that it will boost the growth of the microlauncher company with a financing round. The current shareholders of Rocket Factory are OHB SE, Apollo Capital Partners, other founders as well as the company’s management, the employees and private investors. The aim of the financing round is to raise EUR 25 million in fresh capital.
 
Rocket Factory develops microlaunchers for the cost-effective transport of small satellites into low-Earth orbits. The start-up is determined to grow strongly in the next few years and quickly conquer market shares: “We want to build the best and cheapest rockets and microlaunchers. With freight costs of EUR 3 million per launch, we will be able to offer by far the cheapest launch service in the world,” said Hans Steininger, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and founding investor of Rocket Factory and owner of Apollo Capital Partners, Munich.
 
In the meantime, the start-up has begun building prototypes of its engine. Small and inexpensive launch vehicles play a key role in the commercial use of space by private service providers. “New Space” is opening up a billion-dollar market that is attracting more and more investors. Venture capital funds worldwide invested a record $15.7 billion in 252 space companies in 2020, of which $9.4 billion went to US companies.
 
Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE, said: “We do not want to leave this lucrative market to US companies. That is why we have set up the Rocket Factory with two young space enthusiasts and given the new company a major boost in the form of expertise and capital. We will be able to maximise the cost advantages of series production because we will be building rockets just like cars. Due to the very high demand for investment opportunities in this promising market, we are now opening up the possibility for further selected investors to participate in the growth of the Rocket Factory.”
 
Rocket Factory’s launcher combines three significant competitive advantages: Unbeatable pricing, precise in-orbit delivery through a novel orbital stage and superior engine technology.
 
“With the staged combustion technology, we are a technological trendsetter because it is more powerful, more efficient and cleaner than most launch vehicles currently on the market,” said Dr. Stefan Brieschenk, Board Member and Chief Operations Officer at Rocket Factory.
 
Jörn Spurmann, Board Member and Chief Commercial Officer at Rocket Factory, added: “We offer a delivery service for the last mile. Unlike many others, we deliver satellites to different orbits with pinpoint accuracy using our unique orbital stage. This creates cost advantages. And because we also produce at the lowest cost, we create unrivalled value for money.”

--

A little bit desperate perhaps? Didn't they announce they were looking for money about a year ago? OHB is a billion dollar firm, why doesn't it chip in €25m itself if the management really has such strong belief as Fuchs and Steininger suggest?
« Last Edit: 02/14/2021 05:42 pm by ringsider »

Offline leovinus

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #20 on: 02/14/2021 06:26 pm »

[snip]

A little bit desperate perhaps? Didn't they announce they were looking for money about a year ago? OHB is a billion dollar firm, why doesn't it chip in €25m itself if the management really has such strong belief as Fuchs and Steininger suggest?

I wish them well and look forward to a first launch and working hardware. However, given the recent situation and sentiments in Germany, investors are likely to look at the Wirecard disaster as well as the PTScientist x-prize to the moon. All dream of imitating Silicon Valley and startup success. Those German enterprises that I know with these dreams have not worked out because of various reasons. When I spoke with the PTScientists in 2019 in person, I had the impression of "keeping up appearances" which was followed indeed by bankruptcy. Therefore, while German engineers and scientists are typically great, German investors should request "better than usual" guarantees to make sure this is a legit rocket business attempt and not another trail of tears.

Offline gmbnz

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #21 on: 02/15/2021 03:47 am »
In the meantime, the start-up has begun building prototypes of its engine.

The company has been around for years and is still only beginning to prototype the engine? That's a red flag and a half.
(Unless they were originally going to buy an engine and now have to bring it in-house, but that still doesn't change the outcome)

Offline woods170

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #22 on: 02/15/2021 09:06 am »
In the meantime, the start-up has begun building prototypes of its engine.

The company has been around for years and is still only beginning to prototype the engine? That's a red flag and a half.
(Unless they were originally going to buy an engine and now have to bring it in-house, but that still doesn't change the outcome)

Emphasis mine.
The company was founded in the second half of 2018. So, they have been around for 'years' since the second half of 2020.

Having said that...

This 'red flag' is the result of a radical course change which happened in Q2 of 2020 (according to a source of mine in Germany).
Until roughly May 2020 the RFA One rocket was designed to launch with 'simple' Gas Generator (GG) cycle rocket engines. By Q1 2020 RFA had developed and tested the ignitor, turbopump and gas generator.

But then sometime around June 2020 the company quietly changed the design to incorporate Staged Combustion Cycle rocket engines. Which meant that most of the design of the rocket engine was dropped and replaced with a new design. It translated into a different turbopump, dropping the work on the gas generator, and developing a combustion cycle which is much more difficult to master than a GG cycle.

The change in combustion cycle is also reflected in their projected first flight. That went from 'The first launch is scheduled for 2022' to 'The goal of the start-up is to develop a launch vehicle prototype by the end of 2022'. This latter statement meaning that first launch is now firmly in 2023, given that the prototype rocket first needs to be thoroughly tested before it can be launched.

Public source for status at RFA in March 2020 (listing GG cycle):
https://ritspace.se/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Testing-and-development-of-microlaunchers-Mathieu-Rayer.pdf

Public source for status at RFA in September 2020 (listing SC cycle):
https://eisc-europa.eu/images/stories/2020/Presentation_EISC_2020_Fuchs_OHB.pdf
« Last Edit: 02/15/2021 09:15 am by woods170 »

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #23 on: 02/15/2021 01:20 pm »
Here is a German video report about RFA, published on 4 August 2020. The second half is a factory tour that also shows some rocket parts:

https://www.butenunbinnen.de/videos/sendungen/butenunbinnen-2288.html

Need to scroll to the riight, it is the fourth of six videos. They still communicated a launch readiness date of early 2022 there. Does not say when this was recorded, but those "Buten und Binnen" reports generally look pretty up-to-date.
« Last Edit: 02/15/2021 02:09 pm by PM3 »
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Offline woods170

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #24 on: 02/16/2021 09:46 am »
Here is a German video report about RFA, published on 4 August 2020. The second half is a factory tour that also shows some rocket parts:

https://www.butenunbinnen.de/videos/sendungen/butenunbinnen-2288.html

Need to scroll to the riight, it is the fourth of six videos. They still communicated a launch readiness date of early 2022 there. Does not say when this was recorded, but those "Buten und Binnen" reports generally look pretty up-to-date.

That 2022 launch is effectively out the window. You don't change main engine cycle type, from GG to SC, in mid-2020 and expect to launch just 2 years later. RFA effectively delayed itself at least a year by switching to a more complicated and difficult-to-master engine cycle type.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2021 09:46 am by woods170 »

Offline MiqBos

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #25 on: 02/22/2021 02:58 pm »
The Andøya orbital launchpad project is progressing. They have received the approval of local authorities and should start construction this Spring. The project has changed quite a lot and the renders now show up to 3 segregated pads that include space for the rocket's fuel/oxidizer tanks and other small facilities.

https://www.nrk.no/nordland/andoy-spaceport-kan-gi-nytt-norsk-romeventyr-og-na-er-prosjektet-et-steg-naermere-realisering-1.15332757





Offline leovinus

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #26 on: 03/18/2021 02:11 pm »

[snip]

A little bit desperate perhaps? Didn't they announce they were looking for money about a year ago? OHB is a billion dollar firm, why doesn't it chip in €25m itself if the management really has such strong belief as Fuchs and Steininger suggest?

I wish them well and look forward to a first launch and working hardware. However, given the recent situation and sentiments in Germany, investors are likely to look at the Wirecard disaster as well as the PTScientist x-prize to the moon. All dream of imitating Silicon Valley and startup success. Those German enterprises that I know with these dreams have not worked out because of various reasons. When I spoke with the PTScientists in 2019 in person, I had the impression of "keeping up appearances" which was followed indeed by bankruptcy. Therefore, while German engineers and scientists are typically great, German investors should request "better than usual" guarantees to make sure this is a legit rocket business attempt and not another trail of tears.

In the meantime, the start-up has begun building prototypes of its engine.

The company has been around for years and is still only beginning to prototype the engine? That's a red flag and a half.
(Unless they were originally going to buy an engine and now have to bring it in-house, but that still doesn't change the outcome)

Emphasis mine.
The company was founded in the second half of 2018. So, they have been around for 'years' since the second half of 2020.

Having said that...

This 'red flag' is the result of a radical course change which happened in Q2 of 2020 (according to a source of mine in Germany).
Until roughly May 2020 the RFA One rocket was designed to launch with 'simple' Gas Generator (GG) cycle rocket engines. By Q1 2020 RFA had developed and tested the ignitor, turbopump and gas generator.

But then sometime around June 2020 the company quietly changed the design to incorporate Staged Combustion Cycle rocket engines. Which meant that most of the design of the rocket engine was dropped and replaced with a new design. It translated into a different turbopump, dropping the work on the gas generator, and developing a combustion cycle which is much more difficult to master than a GG cycle.

The change in combustion cycle is also reflected in their projected first flight. That went from 'The first launch is scheduled for 2022' to 'The goal of the start-up is to develop a launch vehicle prototype by the end of 2022'. This latter statement meaning that first launch is now firmly in 2023, given that the prototype rocket first needs to be thoroughly tested before it can be launched.

[snip]


An update on the Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) via a sleuthing German journalist and Eric Berger.
Quote
Great bit of sleuthing here by a German journalist who thought small launch company Rocket Factory Augsburg's claims were too good to be true. He found the company recently switched to Ukrainian-made engines.
https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1372557879757127688

The article itself is at
https://www.golem.de/news/deutsche-raumfahrt-rocket-factory-augsburg-macht-unglaubwuerdige-versprechen-2103-154734.html

Quote
Damit fehlt in den Plänen der Rocketfactory Augsburg alles, was die Rakete und deren Geschäftsmodell glaubwürdig machen würde.
or in English
Quote
Everything that would make the rocket and its business model credible is missing in the plans of the Rocketfactory Augsburg.

In summary: The ambition to be a German SpaceX has changed from "ambitious" to "completely irrational". Investors beware.

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #27 on: 03/18/2021 02:22 pm »
If the allegations are true, I am a bit disheartened by it. I have a lot of respect for a certain personnel associated with the project.

What are the specifics of the allegations?

Offline trimeta

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #28 on: 03/18/2021 03:17 pm »
There's been a follow-up article where RFA more or less says "OK, yeah, we're basically co-developing the engines with a Ukrainian firm, Yuzhmash." Specifically, Yuzhmash will supply the turbopumps and other "individual components," which RFA will assemble into engines. That probably doesn't make RFA's timeline of 2022 (or price of $4 million per launch) realistic, but it does answer how they intend to build an oxygen-rich staged combustion engine with little background in that engine cycle.

https://www.golem.de/news/deutsche-raumfahrt-triebwerkstechnik-der-rocketfactory-kommt-aus-der-ukraine-2103-154753.html

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #29 on: 03/18/2021 04:01 pm »
Reading the articles translated through Google, I feel like the author is overstepping out of their lane making such allegations. Some of the comparisons being made are not very fair.

Bringing in Aerojet Rocketdyne's AR1 into the conversation for one is not right just from the fact that it's Rocketdyne. Whatever may take 1 month at a start up, takes like 6 months at Rocketdyne due to all the processes behind everything. Also the AR1 project was at the mercy of funding and essentially the shareholders during quarterly earnings calls.

Also, the fact that the author did not actually work at those companies that got mentioned like SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Astra, I don't think the author can make such bold statements.

For one fundamentally, it is a different thrust class than the AR1 or Merlin which kind of limits them to certain manufacturing techniques that inherently take a long time like castings and forgings. Secondly, the Merlin went through many block upgrades during the timeframe the author specifies.

One good comparison to make is Relativity who changed engine cycles midcourse like RFA has done, and Ursa Major Technologies who developed and hot fired an ox rich staged combustion engine in 2 years or so? Firefly got and hotfired engines from Ukraine shortly after being revived?

I feel like the article is too bearish on their prospects and the author is out of their element in this field.

Offline tp1024

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #30 on: 03/18/2021 05:49 pm »
Reading the articles translated through Google, I feel like the author is overstepping out of their lane making such allegations. Some of the comparisons being made are not very fair.

Bringing in Aerojet Rocketdyne's AR1 into the conversation for one is not right just from the fact that it's Rocketdyne. Whatever may take 1 month at a start up, takes like 6 months at Rocketdyne due to all the processes behind everything. Also the AR1 project was at the mercy of funding and essentially the shareholders during quarterly earnings calls.

Also, the fact that the author did not actually work at those companies that got mentioned like SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Astra, I don't think the author can make such bold statements.

For one fundamentally, it is a different thrust class than the AR1 or Merlin which kind of limits them to certain manufacturing techniques that inherently take a long time like castings and forgings. Secondly, the Merlin went through many block upgrades during the timeframe the author specifies.

One good comparison to make is Relativity who changed engine cycles midcourse like RFA has done, and Ursa Major Technologies who developed and hot fired an ox rich staged combustion engine in 2 years or so? Firefly got and hotfired engines from Ukraine shortly after being revived?

I feel like the article is too bearish on their prospects and the author is out of their element in this field.

Well, I am the author of this article and I think some crucial details got lost in translation:
The company claimed it was less than 2 years away from launch. The engines had not even been fired on the test stand so far. Not even the design of the rocket had been finalized 22 months ahead of launch.

Besides the AR1 I also mentioned the BE-4, YF-100 and SCE-200 (the last two based on RD-120) - all of which took at least a decade to develop, despite having examples to work from, previous developments and considerable help from Ukraine and Russia at least in the case of the SCE-200. The argument was not that it would take a decade to develop the engine. Just that it would take much more time than the 22 months left until launch.

Edit: Also, Raptor is in development since 2012 and still burns the occasional bit of copper in flight or fails to start up. It's development is not quite finished.

Yes, Merlin went through 4 block upgrades until the first flight of Merlin 1D in 2013 (namely: 1A, 1B, 1C in Falcon 1 spec, 1C in Falcon 9 spec) - but in all engines prior to Merlin 1D the turbines and pumps were delivered from Barber-Nicols, not developed in-house. And it was a comparatively simple open cycle, not an oxygen rich closed cycle.

Finally: The company only admitted to getting help from Ukraine after the article was published. So I think I was very much in my element there and pointed out a very sore spot.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2021 06:45 pm by tp1024 »

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #31 on: 03/18/2021 07:07 pm »


Well, I am the author of this article and I think some crucial details got lost in translation:
The company claimed it was less than 2 years away from launch. The engines had not even been fired on the test stand so far. Not even the design of the rocket had been finalized 22 months ahead of launch.

Besides the AR1 I also mentioned the BE-4, YF-100 and SCE-200 (the last two based on RD-120) - all of which took at least a decade to develop, despite having examples to work from, previous developments and considerable help from Ukraine and Russia at least in the case of the SCE-200. The argument was not that it would take a decade to develop the engine. Just that it would take much more time than the 22 months left until launch.

Edit: Also, Raptor is in development since 2012 and still burns the occasional bit of copper in flight or fails to start up. It's development is not quite finished.

Yes, Merlin went through 4 block upgrades until the first flight of Merlin 1D in 2013 (namely: 1A, 1B, 1C in Falcon 1 spec, 1C in Falcon 9 spec) - but in all engines prior to Merlin 1D the turbines and pumps were delivered from Barber-Nicols, not developed in-house. And it was a comparatively simple open cycle, not an oxygen rich closed cycle.

Finally: The company only admitted to getting help from Ukraine after the article was published. So I think I was very much in my element there and pointed out a very sore spot.

I won't disagree with the timeline being ambitious (I can't think of a single aerospace company meeting their deadline on time, other than may be Launcher Space who intentionally gave a conservative estimate of 10 years).

Where I do find it very unfair is the statement about the company not having any credibility. I'd say that given the size of their engine and the manufacturing method, that the development time is inherently shorter than a more traditional methods (DMLS vs castings, forgings, brazing, welding, ect)

I can't give insight to the BE-4 development, but it seems like Blue Origin only really got a lot of manpower within the last few years.

I'll say that RFA is a lot more credible than a lot of other companies out there. I feel like they just need the funding and manpower to accomplish their goals. Funding situation seems a bit more difficult in the European front from an outsider looking in. American companies have a lot of angel funds and venture capitalists funding them, I am not sure about the funding of European companies.

Again, Ursa Major was able to develop an ox rich staged combustion engine in a few years with a handful of people.

Best of luck to RFA.

edit: I'll add ox rich staged combustion is a whole different beast at higher chamber pressures. I reckon RFA is targeting around 700 psi chamber pressure. A lot of the difficulty in previous developments are probably in part due to the high chamber pressures and thrust of the engines.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2021 07:13 pm by Davidthefat »

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #32 on: 03/18/2021 08:40 pm »
The reporting by Frank Wunderlich-Pfeiffer generally tends to negativity. E. g. totally negative report about the Perseverance mission here. Wrote exactly one article about a Falcon 9 landing in the last two years - of course about a failed one. Emphasizing every mishap of Starship tests that did not go perfectly, calling it setbacks for SpaceX.

Suggest to take the RFA article with many grains of salt.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2021 08:41 pm by PM3 »
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline tp1024

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #33 on: 03/18/2021 08:53 pm »
The reporting by Frank Wunderlich-Pfeiffer generally tends to negativity. E. g. totally negative report about the Perseverance mission here. Wrote exactly one article about a Falcon 9 landing in the last two years - of course about a failed one. Emphasizing every mishap of Starship tests that did not go perfectly, calling it setbacks for SpaceX.

Suggest to take the RFA article with many grains of salt.

This was published on December 10th 2020: https://www.golem.de/news/raumfahrt-spacex-ist-erwachsen-geworden-2012-152721.html
And I've also written about SpaceX and all the records they broke in my review of 2020 here: https://www.golem.de/news/jahresrueckblick-das-waren-die-hoehenfluege-und-abstuerze-der-raumfahrt-2020-2012-153048-5.html
I also reported on the 5th launch of B1049 in August 2020 here: https://www.golem.de/news/raumfahrt-neue-rekorde-bei-falcon-9-und-verzweiflung-bei-ariane-6-2008-150336.html
And I dare you to call this "negative reporting" on the first crewed launch of Dragon in May 2020: https://www.golem.de/news/spacex-crew-dragon-fliegt-erstmals-mit-astronauten-an-bord-2005-148731.html
Or about that Neutron Rocket announcment on March 1st: https://www.golem.de/news/raumfahrt-rocketlab-geht-an-die-boerse-und-baut-grosse-neutron-rakete-2103-154583.html

Golem is about news and Falcon 9 landings stopped being news some time in 2016 or 2017. And I'm sorry, but I refuse to be impressed by missions that are stripped-down repeats of previous missions and still manage to be a billion dollars over budget. I report negativity when reality is negative.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2021 09:22 pm by tp1024 »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #34 on: 03/19/2021 10:22 am »
If anything, partnership with Yuzmash/Yuzhnoye (well known manufacturers and designers of a wide variety of engines in different cycles) is more encouraging for a fast development time rather than completely in-house development.

Offline niwax

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #35 on: 03/19/2021 10:36 am »
If anything, partnership with Yuzmash/Yuzhnoye (well known manufacturers and designers of a wide variety of engines in different cycles) is more encouraging for a fast development time rather than completely in-house development.

It's also encouraging for spending half a Falcon 9 worth of cost on just the engines.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Offline nuukee

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #36 on: 03/26/2021 12:28 pm »
The reporting by Frank Wunderlich-Pfeiffer generally tends to negativity. E. g. totally negative report about the Perseverance mission here. Wrote exactly one article about a Falcon 9 landing in the last two years - of course about a failed one. Emphasizing every mishap of Starship tests that did not go perfectly, calling it setbacks for SpaceX.

Suggest to take the RFA article with many grains of salt.

I could not disagree more. All other media outlets more or less post what they heard or read somewhere else whereas Frank does a lot of research which shows in the articles. I find them to be accurate, balanced and enjoy reading them.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #37 on: 04/01/2021 02:50 pm »
https://www.rfa.space/launcher/

According to the web site, they are using 9 engines in the first stage, and 1 in the second stage.

I have no idea what Ukrainian engine this is based on.

Offline woods170

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #38 on: 06/21/2021 10:13 am »
https://www.rfa.space/launcher/

According to the web site, they are using 9 engines in the first stage, and 1 in the second stage.

I have no idea what Ukrainian engine this is based on.

RD-809K.

Recent developments: 8-second power pack test, full engine ignition test, and full engine short-duration (two seconds) hot fire tests have been successful.

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1406893383956762625
« Last Edit: 06/21/2021 10:20 am by woods170 »

Offline Danderman

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #39 on: 06/22/2021 01:17 am »

Offline GWR64

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #40 on: 08/09/2021 06:40 pm »
https://www.rfa.space/launcher/

According to the web site, they are using 9 engines in the first stage, and 1 in the second stage.

I have no idea what Ukrainian engine this is based on.

There it is written 1600 kg into the ISS orbit!
The numbers are close to the Rokot. But the Rokot developed 190 tons of thrust at takeoff.
RFA One less than half.  ???
« Last Edit: 08/09/2021 06:47 pm by GWR64 »

Offline c4fusion

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #41 on: 08/10/2021 07:49 am »
https://www.rfa.space/launcher/

According to the web site, they are using 9 engines in the first stage, and 1 in the second stage.

I have no idea what Ukrainian engine this is based on.

There it is written 1600 kg into the ISS orbit!
The numbers are close to the Rokot. But the Rokot developed 190 tons of thrust at takeoff.
RFA One less than half.  ???

Obviously full flow methlox with 300 bar chamber pressure.

Offline niwax

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #42 on: 08/10/2021 09:38 am »
https://www.rfa.space/launcher/

According to the web site, they are using 9 engines in the first stage, and 1 in the second stage.

I have no idea what Ukrainian engine this is based on.

There it is written 1600 kg into the ISS orbit!
The numbers are close to the Rokot. But the Rokot developed 190 tons of thrust at takeoff.
RFA One less than half.  ???

That's what ISP does for you. If you took a Rokot/Briz-KM and replaced the 290s/322s/326s storable engines with +50s ISP because of Methane, payload rises from 1800kg to 3700kg.
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #43 on: 08/11/2021 07:29 am »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1425142751436410880

Quote
Well @elonmusk, some similarity can not be denied, can it? 😜🚀

#RFA @SpaceX #Starship #RocketFactory
Credits: @NASASpaceflight @BocaChicaGal

twitter.com/zouki_rud/status/1425197236498092032

Quote
It's okay to copy SapceX as long as you manage to do something in space !

But did you make the stainless steel before SpaceX ?

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1425328326932144130

Quote
We chose the steel design more than 3.5 years ago. Hard to tell who had the idea before, but if you go for extensive reusability at lowest costs, steel is the material of choice.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2021 07:30 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline ringsider

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #44 on: 08/12/2021 01:02 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1425142751436410880

Quote
Well @elonmusk, some similarity can not be denied, can it?

#RFA @SpaceX #Starship #RocketFactory
Credits: @NASASpaceflight @BocaChicaGal

twitter.com/zouki_rud/status/1425197236498092032

Quote
It's okay to copy SapceX as long as you manage to do something in space !

But did you make the stainless steel before SpaceX ?

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1425328326932144130

Quote
We chose the steel design more than 3.5 years ago. Hard to tell who had the idea before, but if you go for extensive reusability at lowest costs, steel is the material of choice.

Interesting race between Rocket Factory Augsburg and Isar Aerospace in Germany. Isar seem to be better at raising money, but very young / inexperienced in actually building things. Has anybody seen an engine from them yet?

Rocket Factory Augsburg (terrible name) seem to have less money, but they are joined at the hip to OHB and MT Aerospace, and they seem to know how to build things quickly (or buy them in from experienced, relatively cheap partners like Yuzhnoye). They also seem able to piggyback on SpaceX PR to build their brand.

If you had just given $180,000,000 to the young students at Isar Aerospace you might be wondering if you had backed the wrong horse. It's a little embrassing for a company with that much backing that a competitor founded in the same timeframe and without those hundreds of millions is already able to show engine tests and large structures...

Maybe they should merge? Together they might be more effective.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2021 01:05 pm by ringsider »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #45 on: 08/27/2021 03:14 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1431270164385968128

Quote
You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs! With our cryogenic burst test we pushed the #limits of our first stage design and #successfully demonstrated the strengthening of our steel alloy under cryo conditions!

A new first stage is already in the pipeline. On we go! 🚀

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #46 on: 08/30/2021 11:07 pm »
https://twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1432461552431550472

Quote
Rocket Factory Augsburg (@rfa_space) is a german startup developing a reusable rocket. They've recently conducted cryogenic pressure testing and engine testing for their RFA One rocket, set to debut in late 2022.

Article by Adrian Beil (@BCCarCounters):

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/08/rocket-factory-augsburg-tests-2022-debut/

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #47 on: 09/14/2021 01:12 am »
Youtube link to RFA webanir which had few German aerospace industry people on it.

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1437413370429333513?s=19

Mainly about RFA hyping on about their highly efficient stage combustion engine and how it makes for better LV. While great engineering feat doesn't necessarily make for low cost launch.

Woman that is launch services provider basically said they don't care about engine, just has to be low cost and reliable LV. Did have some interesting comments regarding what satellites customers want. Prove of concept tech demos, a cheap ride to space don't a care about orbit. When comes to constellation deployment, accurate orbit insertion becomes more important along with launch on demand and they are willing to pay more for it.






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Offline Yiosie

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #48 on: 10/28/2021 02:21 am »
SENER Aeroespacial and Rocket Factory Augsburg sign launch service agreement [dated Oct. 26]

Quote
SENER Aeroespacial and Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA) have agreed on a launch service contract. As a result, SENER Aeroespacial will launch its E.T.PACK technology demonstrator with the RFA ONE micro launcher.

SENER Aeroespacial will launch its small satellite, called E.T.PACK, into near-Earth orbit at mid-inclination. E.T.PACK is a deorbit device that will demonstrate a novel electrodynamic tether technology for deorbiting satellites and launcher upper stages without chemical or electrical propulsion. The flight is of high interest for RFA since the potential adoption of SENER Aeroespacial technology in the future can be an asset for the RFA ONE launch system.

The signing of the agreement took place on October 26 during the IAC 2021 exhibition in Dubai, between the Chief Commercial Officer of RFA, Jörn Spurmann, and the Director of Institutional Space Department of SENER Aeroespacial, Augusto Caramagno.

Launch will take place "by late 2024":

SENER Aeroespacial and the UC3M open a laboratory to integrate a deorbit device to eliminate space debris [dated Feb. 3]

Quote
SENER Aeroespacial and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have set up a laboratory to develop a new device to deorbit space debris based on electrodynamic tether technology. The laboratory, located in SENER’s facilities in Tres Cantos (Madrid, Spain), will be used to integrate the avionics system into the deorbit device that is currently under development thanks to E.T.PACK, a FET-OPEN project funded with €3million by the European Commission.

<snip>

The opening of this new laboratory kicks off the process of integrating the avionics system into the deorbit device. The consortium will have the first complete prototype of the device ready by late 2022 and plans to mature it in a later project that will end with an in-orbit demonstration by late 2024. The goal is to have the system operational in 2025.

Offline Yiosie

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #49 on: 11/19/2021 09:38 pm »
Rocket Factory Augsburg has signed two more launch contracts (bolds mine):

Rocket Factory Augsburg lands new customer in build up to first launch [dated Nov. 18]

Quote
German launch startup Rocket Factory Augsburg has signed a new customer for the first launch of its RFA One rocket next year.

The firm announced Nov. 18 a launch contract inked at the Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen with Ukraine-based Lunar Research Service (LRS) for launch of a research mission.

The spacecraft will launch on the first flight of the reusable RFA One launcher, currently set to take place at the end of 2022 from Andøya spaceport, Norway.

During the expo RFA also signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with Morpheus Space with a view to integrating Morpheus propulsion systems in the RFA One, as well as another MoU with London-based space tech startup Lúnasa relating to the latter’s reusable orbital transfer vehicle named VIA.

Plus Ultra aims to provide communications infrastructure for incoming wave of moon missions [dated Nov. 19]

Quote
Spanish-German company Plus Ultra Space Outposts is making moves to be the provider for essential communications and navigation infrastructure for upcoming moon missions.

The Spanish-German company signed a launch agreement late October with Germany startup Rocket Factory Augsburg to launch Plus Ultra’s first satellite.

That mission, set to launch in the final quarter of 2023, would see the roughly 400-kilogram satellite sent into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite will then use its own electric propulsion system to reach lunar orbit, arriving in place around six months later.

<snip>

Plus Ultra’s Harmony constellation aims to provide greater coverage and data rates than those set out in requirements such as those in NASA’s LunaNet initiative, which seeks to put infrastructure in place, possibly using public-private partnerships, service contract arrangements and potentially multiple providers.

“We’re talking about 100 megabits per user, we’re talking about global coverage, we are talking about a GPS-like navigation system,” says Ströhl. The goal would be to change communications and navigation from a carefully managed resource into an on-demand service that enables new capabilities.

The completed constellation would consist of eight satellites orbiting in two planes, at 6,000 kilometers above the lunar surface and using laser communications links. The first four satellites would already provide 80% coverage of the lunar surface. The completed constellation would provide 100% coverage.

Offline trimeta

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #50 on: 11/19/2021 09:59 pm »
That Plus Ultra contract was actually announced during IAC 2021 at the end of October, same as the SENER contract. Another contract from then is with Neutron Star Systems, who plan to fly a demonstrator for their electric propulsion system.

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #51 on: 12/26/2021 06:15 pm »
Stefan Tweraser is new CEO of Rocket Factory Augsburg since October. Zero aerospace experience. He worked as sales and product manager for some Internet companies, including Google Deutschland. Studied telecom engineering, business administration and psychotherapy.

Quote from: Stefan Tweraser
There are enough ideas and technological knowledge at RFA, nearly too much. E.g. there are ideas in the company to build larger rockets, to enable transporting larger satellites. But this just distracts from the actual goal.

I want to sharpen RFA's product focus. Despite of all creativity and passion we face the exciting challenge to build a low-priced rocket with high reliability.

https://www.handelsblatt.com/technik/forschung-innovation/rocket-factory-augsburg-von-google-zur-raumfahrt-wie-stefan-tweraser-die-preiswerteste-rakete-bauen-will/27729864.html?ticket=ST-7508499-XYaLWoMrsXBPderBbglA-cas01.example.org

https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article234385270/Rocket-Factory-Augsburg-Ex-Google-Manager-soll-deutschen-Raketenbauer-fuehren.html

https://www.raumfahrer.net/dr-stefan-tweraser-neuer-ceo-der-rocket-factory-augsburg/
« Last Edit: 12/26/2021 06:28 pm by PM3 »
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Offline Hortense

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #52 on: 01/21/2022 05:43 pm »
Data: Presentation by new CEO

https://www.ohb.de/fileadmin/ohb/Capital_Market_Day/2022/20210211_CMD9_ST.pdf

Data: Rocket Factory Augsburg AG has working SC engine but only target 100s test in 2022.

Source : https://www.spaceintelreport.com/rocket-factory-augsburg-rfa-looks-to-mid-year-100-second-firing-of-staged-combustion-engine-fresh-financing/ (paywall, but HTML title of page)

Data: No discussion of 2022 launch date.

Source : https://www.spaceintelreport.com/rocket-factory-augsburg-rfa-looks-to-mid-year-100-second-firing-of-staged-combustion-engine-fresh-financing/ (paywall, but HTML title of page)

Data: Rocket Factory Augsburg AG CEO says "raising €100 million".

Source : https://www.spaceintelreport.com/rocket-factory-augsburg-rfa-looks-to-mid-year-100-second-firing-of-staged-combustion-engine-fresh-financing/ (paywall, but HTML title of page)

Question: Have Rocket Factory Augsburg AG, fondé 2018, revealed the full time required for orbital launch >6 years?

Consider: Isar Aerospace Technologies GMBH, also fondé 2018, has not working engine, but forecast still Q3 2022 launch.

:o
 
Question: How many year before Isar Aerospace Technologies GMBH launch?

Answer:  :'(

Offline trimeta

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #53 on: 01/21/2022 05:46 pm »
Of course Hortense is talking about how Isar is clearly a fraud in the RFA thread. Of their 11 posts, 10 of them have been "Isar is a fraud." We get it, you're not a fan. If Isar were publicly-traded, I'd assume you've put your life savings into shorting them.

Offline CameronD

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #54 on: 02/11/2022 04:03 am »
RFA and Southern Launch sign agreement for launch facilities

Singapore, 10. February 2022 – Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), Europe’s leading launch service provider, has partnered with Southern Launch, a South Australian rocket launch facility provider. The partnership allows for the German launcher RFA ONE to be launched from Southern Launch’s Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex in South Australia. Southern Launch’s orbital complex provides direct ascent into sun-synchronous and polar orbits.

The agreement will enable RFA to provide flexible, low-cost, and precise launch services with its RFA ONE from a regional spaceport in the Asia-Pacific region. This three-stage small rocket, with its highly efficient staged combustion engine and orbital stage, can deliver up to 1,350 kg to a 300-km polar orbit. The rocket is 30 meters high and 2 meters wide and has reached important milestones in its development over the past year. The RFA ONE is expected to launch up to fifty times a year in the future, delivering satellites into near-Earth orbit quickly and reliably at a highly competitive price point

The first engagement between RFA and Southern Launch was at the International Astronautical Congress, Washington in 2019, and the parties are now very pleased to have finalized and to be signing a launch services agreement at the Global Space and Technology Convention in Singapore.

Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA, says: “Launching from South Australia allows us to offer our launch services in a highly customer-oriented way from a regional spaceport in the Asia-Pacific region. It marks a central milestone in our strategy for a globally distributed launch capability. With various launch sites around the world, we minimize our customers’ logistics and time constraints and lay the infrastructural foundation for a weekly launch cadence. Southern Launch offers a comprehensive and competitive service to launch our rockets. We could not have wished for a better partner.”

Lloyd Damp, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Launch, said: “We are excited to announce this partnership with Rocket Factory Augsburg AG, which will see their launcher RFA ONE launched into space from Southern Launch’s sites in South Australia. This partnership further demonstrates Australia’s world-class space launch capabilities to the international space industry.”

https://www.rfa.space/rfa-and-southern-launch-sign-agreement-for-launch-facilities/

« Last Edit: 02/11/2022 04:06 am by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Bananas_on_Mars

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #55 on: 03/07/2022 05:15 pm »
Rocketfactory Augsburg let‘s you vote on the name of the first stage engine.

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1500864141908754434

Online ClayJar

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #56 on: 04/12/2022 07:11 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1513908353130545157

Quote from: Twitter: @rfa_space
Enough with the renders! Let us introduce: The #Helix engine 🔥

Ready for some more information on this marvellous piece of #engineering and the chance to win unique polaroid pics of this beauty? ⬇️ (1/6)



Our #Helix is the first staged-combustion engine in the EU. Its oxygen-rich closed-cycle allows it to run more efficiently and be more #performant than open cycle engines. It is made of ❓ different materials, all working together to produce 100kN of thrust. (2/6)



On our 1st stage we have 9x Helix with an Isp of 325s, on our 2nd stage one vacuum optimized Helix with 350s. Being closed-cycle, it emits fewer sooty exhaust gases, making it more #environmentally friendly & compliant with our vision to get closer to Earth from space. (3/6)



Critical parts of the engine are #3Dprinted, which is perfect for complex and very fine structures, e.g. cooling channels. 3D printing also allows us to significantly reduce costs & production time as well as scaling and #automation of the production. (4/6)



Last July, we successfully tested our in-house developed #Helix engine for the first time. Now that the first engine in flight configuration is ready, we are preparing for a long duration hot fire test. Stay tuned on that, it's going to be spectacular! (5/6)



Now for the question mark from above: Can you guess how many different materials are used in the #Helix? Comment your guess to enter a draw for a chance to win one of only a few unique polaroid pictures of this beauty 😍 (6/6).

Offline ParabolicSnark

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #57 on: 04/20/2022 04:03 pm »
RFA posted a follow up image with major components of their engine labeled:



Looks like they're using electric TVC actuators. I'm aware technological capability here as improved over the last 10 years, but it seems like an odd choice for given the fuel pressures they're likely working with in a staged combustion engine (with their performance, I'm assuming they're using kerosene, but couldn't find explicit reference to it).

They're using the tried-and-true TEA-TEB system with a canister/ampule made from what appears to be welded pipe caps.

It's interesting to see a spin-start exhaust. I haven't paid too much attention to staged combustion engines - I assumed that would exhaust through the normal turbine exhaust path like it does on gas generators but I guess that could have detrimental impacts to start up operations/transients.
« Last Edit: 04/20/2022 04:04 pm by ParabolicSnark »

Offline trimeta

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #58 on: 04/25/2022 06:07 pm »
RFA has won the second round of the German Aerospace Center (DLR)'s microlauncher competition. This contract is worth 11 million Euros, and DLR will put payloads of up to 150kg on each of RFA's first two launches.

You may recall that Isar Aerospace won the first round of the competition, with an identical prize (11 million Euros to carry 150kg on their first two launches). That just leaves HyImpulse, the third competitor, without a prize as of yet.

Offline Yiosie

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #59 on: 05/23/2022 09:21 pm »
SENER Aeroespacial and Rocket Factory Augsburg sign launch service agreement [dated Oct. 26]

Quote
SENER Aeroespacial and Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA) have agreed on a launch service contract. As a result, SENER Aeroespacial will launch its E.T.PACK technology demonstrator with the RFA ONE micro launcher.

SENER Aeroespacial will launch its small satellite, called E.T.PACK, into near-Earth orbit at mid-inclination. E.T.PACK is a deorbit device that will demonstrate a novel electrodynamic tether technology for deorbiting satellites and launcher upper stages without chemical or electrical propulsion. The flight is of high interest for RFA since the potential adoption of SENER Aeroespacial technology in the future can be an asset for the RFA ONE launch system.

The signing of the agreement took place on October 26 during the IAC 2021 exhibition in Dubai, between the Chief Commercial Officer of RFA, Jörn Spurmann, and the Director of Institutional Space Department of SENER Aeroespacial, Augusto Caramagno.

Launch will take place "by late 2024":

SENER Aeroespacial and the UC3M open a laboratory to integrate a deorbit device to eliminate space debris [dated Feb. 3]

Quote
SENER Aeroespacial and the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have set up a laboratory to develop a new device to deorbit space debris based on electrodynamic tether technology. The laboratory, located in SENER’s facilities in Tres Cantos (Madrid, Spain), will be used to integrate the avionics system into the deorbit device that is currently under development thanks to E.T.PACK, a FET-OPEN project funded with €3million by the European Commission.

<snip>

The opening of this new laboratory kicks off the process of integrating the avionics system into the deorbit device. The consortium will have the first complete prototype of the device ready by late 2022 and plans to mature it in a later project that will end with an in-orbit demonstration by late 2024. The goal is to have the system operational in 2025.

Launch now scheduled to take place in 2025:

The European Innovation Council supports E.T. PACK-Fly, a project to mitigate space debris [dated May 17]

Quote from: SENER
The E.T.PACK-Fly consortium, coordinated by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and made up of the University of Padova, the Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden), the Spanish company SENER Aeroespacial and the German start-up Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), has received €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC) to develop a device based on a space tether to deorbit space debris.

<snip>

With a duration of two and a half years, the project will start in September 2022 and it aims to prepare the flight model of a deorbit device to be launched into orbit in 2025. RFA and SENER Aeroespacial have already signed the launch service agreement.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #60 on: 05/24/2022 07:00 am »
RFA posted a follow up image with major components of their engine labeled:



Looks like they're using electric TVC actuators. I'm aware technological capability here as improved over the last 10 years, but it seems like an odd choice for given the fuel pressures they're likely working with in a staged combustion engine (with their performance, I'm assuming they're using kerosene, but couldn't find explicit reference to it).

They're using the tried-and-true TEA-TEB system with a canister/ampule made from what appears to be welded pipe caps.

It's interesting to see a spin-start exhaust. I haven't paid too much attention to staged combustion engines - I assumed that would exhaust through the normal turbine exhaust path like it does on gas generators but I guess that could have detrimental impacts to start up operations/transients.
The tweet on the engine naming mentioned how they combat heavy soot and the engine test videos on their YouTube channel indicate kerolox.

https://youtube.com/channel/UC6PsS67tBgDr5w22ZZSgI9w

Anatoly Zak in his RFA content states the kerolox engine has origins and early testing involving the Yuzhnoye and Yuzmash entities.
« Last Edit: 05/24/2022 07:01 am by russianhalo117 »

Offline leovinus

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #61 on: 07/15/2022 02:52 pm »
RFA successfully hot fires Helix engine for a total of 74 seconds
July 13, 2022
Quote
Launch services provider Rocket Factory Augsburg AG has tested its staged combustion Helix engine for the first time for a total duration of 74 seconds. This marks the successful completion of the first test campaign of the Helix flight configuration and confirms RFA’s milestone traction towards service commercialisation.
https://www.rfa.space/rfa-succesfully-hot-fires-helix-engine-for-a-total-of-74-seconds/

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #62 on: 07/18/2022 04:38 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1549065071258750980

Quote
Raw footage from the Helix 40-second hot fire test for a great start to the week! 🔥

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #63 on: 07/18/2022 10:36 pm »
74s of engine testing completed successfully. Is that 10% or 1% of engine testing done for qualification? 740s or 7400s of engine testing required to certify the engine for launch? They are years away from launching. RFA has engine test footage.
We haven't seen anything from ISAR Aerospace.
Best of luck to the RFA team, let's continue steadily development of Helix engine and the RFA one launcher.
Hopefully you'll snatch some kick-stage contract as well.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2022 07:21 pm by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #64 on: 07/19/2022 10:29 am »
740s or 7400s of engine testing required to certify the engine for launch?
Where do those figures come from?

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #65 on: 08/11/2022 04:24 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1557763774119124993

Quote
Our oldest rule? New is always better! So in line with our recent technical developments & market-derived analysis, we are proud to release the latest version of our Payload User Guide (PUG).

Request the new PUG here ➡️ https://www.rfa.space/request-users-guide/

You have to enter contact details to gain access to the PUG

Offline bolun

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #66 on: 09/13/2022 09:18 pm »
ESA Boost! for RFA One Launch Services

Quote
Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), a German startup developing the three-stage RFA One orbital launch vehicle designed to operate at a high cadence, has received a contract worth €11.72 m from ESA's Boost! commercial space transportation services programme.

Offline Tywin

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #67 on: 10/09/2022 08:50 pm »
Amazing interview...

The knowledge is power...Everything is connected...
The Turtle continues at a steady pace ...

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #68 on: 10/24/2022 04:53 pm »
https://twitter.com/bccarcounters/status/1584588326920912898

Quote
In a recent NSF Live epsiode with @rfa_space, Dr. Stefan Brieschenk talked about the company's plans for reusability, the Helix engine, and more.

Article: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2022/10/rfa-reuse-interview/

✍️me for @NASASpaceflight

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #69 on: 10/24/2022 06:31 pm »
https://twitter.com/bccarcounters/status/1584588326920912898

Quote
In a recent NSF Live epsiode with @rfa_space, Dr. Stefan Brieschenk talked about the company's plans for reusability, the Helix engine, and more.

Article: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2022/10/rfa-reuse-interview/

me for @NASASpaceflight
Nothing on how they plan to recover booster.

Interesting bit on why spark ignitions aren't used to relight kick stage engine.

Online Gliderflyer

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #70 on: 10/24/2022 09:43 pm »
https://twitter.com/bccarcounters/status/1584588326920912898

Quote
In a recent NSF Live epsiode with @rfa_space, Dr. Stefan Brieschenk talked about the company's plans for reusability, the Helix engine, and more.

Article: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2022/10/rfa-reuse-interview/

me for @NASASpaceflight
Nothing on how they plan to recover booster.

Interesting bit on why spark ignitions aren't used to relight kick stage engine.
It was very interesting considering there are multiple RCS  thrusters flying in space right now with spark ignition. It's not that hard to ignite nitromethane rocket engines with a spark plug (I've done it), I wonder what their issue with it was (maybe their exciters were just bad?)
I tried it at home

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #71 on: 10/25/2022 11:37 am »
Possibly dependant on the size of the spark (or rather, the quantity of energy discharged) required to ignite Nitromethane vs. whatever other RCS propellant combination is in use.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #72 on: 11/07/2022 03:21 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1589649690449936384

Quote
What. A. Sight! 😍 Our upper stage with a Helix engine. Ready for Integrated Systems Testing (IST) to validate the full #functionality & compatibility of all systems. How? With a #hotfire over its entire flight duration. Here, all stage systems are tested simultaneously. (1/3)

twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1589649694682411012

Quote
The fully integrated stage includes the tanks and umbilical connections, the pressure, relief and vent system, our kerolox staged combustion engine #Helix, its control system, the flight control system, and other critical components 🚀 (2/3)

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1589649696611766272

Quote
The test campaign will start in the coming weeks and ensure qualification and further development of our upper stage and Helix engine. Btw: we use a sea-level nozzle for these first tests and replace it with the vacuum variant before flight 😉 (3/3)
« Last Edit: 11/07/2022 03:22 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #73 on: 11/07/2022 05:48 pm »
twitter.com/djsnm/status/1589683120328314881

Quote
Is this missing a nozzle extension for vacuum?

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1589690243728707584

Quote
Good catch! Yes, we use a sea-level nozzle for these first tests and replace it with the vacuum variant before flight.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #74 on: 01/11/2023 08:52 am »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1613085137087905792

Quote
Exciting news! Our first launch will take place from  @SaxaVord_Space on the Shetland Islands!

Our launch stool is already installed. After completing the launch site, we will soon be conducting 1st stage static fire tests there. 

Read the press release➡️

https://www.rfa.space/rocket-factory-augsburgs-first-launch-to-take-place-from-saxavord-spaceport/

Quote
Rocket Factory Augsburg's first launch to take place from SaxaVord Spaceport
SaxaVord Spaceport and RFA announce multi-year launch operations partnership
 
January 11, 2023

Augsburg, Germany & London, UK, 11th January 2023 – Launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA) and SaxaVord Spaceport have today announced their launch operations partnership. RFA will have exclusive access to Launch Pad Fredo for orbital launches, meaning the company’s first launch of its RFA ONE launch system – currently planned for the end of 2023 – will take place from the northernmost point in the UK.

The commercial Spaceport in Shetland is ideally located for RFA to launch payloads at high cadence into polar and sun-synchronous orbits. Existing logistics and infrastructure, launch readiness, as well as rapid implementation and matching mentality were key factors why RFA chose to partner with SaxaVord. With the multi-year partnership, which includes investments in the double-digit million pound range, RFA is securing its first-flight launch site in order to be able to provide its services individually and flexibly to customer requirements.

The launch pad and launch stool were fully completed by the end of 2022. The RFA launch pad is therefore the first for vertical orbital rocket launches in the UK and mainland Europe. In the future, the launch pad will not only be used for orbital launches, but for testing and qualification of the RFA ONE core stages. These tests are expected to begin in mid-2023. The first launch will then be into a 500 km high sun-synchronous orbit.

“We are super excited to launch our first flight from SaxaVord. This partnership of privately financed companies enables the spirit and speed that we need, to be on top of the commercial small launch competition,” said Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. “The SaxaVord team was incredibly determined to build our launch pad and get the operations up and running. We are proud to be part of this historic event for the UK having built the first launch pad in mainland Europe. We firmly believe in the UK’s strategic space vision and are absolutely convinced that the double-digit million investment in the site is well placed on our part.”

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “We’re delighted to kick off the New Year by announcing our partnership with RFA. We will support RFA across the entire lifecycle of a launch, from facilitating testing, inspections, fueling and safety, to supplying MET weather data and access to our ground station network for data capture and distribution. The entire team cannot wait to welcome RFA and work closely as we edge closer to the UK’s first vertical space launch in Unst.”
The partnership will allow RFA to launch satellites, the majority of which are active in two major areas: Earth observation and communications. The data collected by these satellites can benefit any industry. Examples of applications include:

Optimization of logistics routes, early detection of forest fires, Internet of Things, analysis of ground conditions, maintenance of infrastructure, collection of health data, self-driving cars, climate and environmental protection. In this way, RFA acts as an enabler to better connect, understand, and protect our Earth.

About SaxaVord

SaxaVord Spaceport (SaxaVord) is the UK’s first vertical satellite launch facility and ground station located at Lamba Ness in Unst, Shetland. Given Unst is the UK’s highest point of latitude, SaxaVord offers customers a geographic competitive advantage enabling unrivalled payloads per satellite, launch site operations, a network of ground stations, as well as in-orbit data collection and analysis. SaxaVord has received endorsement from the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) Sceptre Report and formed industry-leading partnerships. It has also been chosen to host the UKSA’s UK Pathfinder launch, which will be delivered by Lockheed Martin and ABL Systems, in 2022.

Integral to the UK’s space economy ambitions, SaxaVord is building a highly skilled workforce, championing STEM education and supporting the economic regeneration of Shetland. Follow the journey of SaxaVord, from ground preparation to launch, here.

Image caption:

Quote
The RFA launch stool on the shetland island. In the front the dark blue ocean, in the back the brown hills.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #75 on: 01/12/2023 04:04 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1613581656899686404

Quote
Imagine standing on the cliff in the background and watching the lift-off 🚀 What a landscape and what an atmosphere! A truly unique place for our first launch at the end of the year.

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #76 on: 03/18/2023 02:14 am »
https://twitter.com/FrankWunderli13/status/1636784261553602561

Hmm, I don't know if RFA really can survive such a selling by their main (major aerospace player) shareholder if that happens...

(source in German)
Astronomy & spaceflight geek penguin. In a relationship w/ Space Shuttle Discovery. Current Priority: Chasing the Chinese Spaceflight Wonder Egg & A Certain Chinese Mars Rover

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #77 on: 03/18/2023 07:13 am »
See post #26 to #33 of this thread regarding the defeatist reporting of Frank Wunderlich-Pfeiffer, who doesn't like RFA.

Many small launcher startup companies are struggling, because SpaceX transporter eats their business case, and because high interest rates drain venture capital. Most of them will go bankrupt. This may include RFA.

But the majority stake sale per se is not bad. E. g. it may mean that OHB has found a capable investor who is willing to found RFA through going orbital, under the condition that OHB gives them total control of the company.

Of the three German orbital launcher startups, RFA looks most promising - they are technologically ahead of ISAR Aerospace and HyImpulse. Yes, it would be no surprise if none of them survives, and also none of the other rocket builders that were founded during the past eight years. But I don't see an indication that an end of RFA is imminent.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline GWR64

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #78 on: 03/18/2023 08:42 am »
...
Of the three German orbital launcher startups, RFA looks most promising - they are technologically ahead of ISAR Aerospace and HyImpulse. Yes, it would be no surprise if none of them survives, and also none of the other rocket builders that were founded during the past eight years. But I don't see an indication that an end of RFA is imminent.

As long as Arianegroup and Avio continue to get almost all of the public development funds in this sector, that is exactly what will happen.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2023 08:51 am by GWR64 »

Offline TheKutKu

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #79 on: 03/18/2023 10:12 am »
...
Of the three German orbital launcher startups, RFA looks most promising - they are technologically ahead of ISAR Aerospace and HyImpulse. Yes, it would be no surprise if none of them survives, and also none of the other rocket builders that were founded during the past eight years. But I don't see an indication that an end of RFA is imminent.

As long as Arianegroup and Avio continue to get almost all of the public development funds in this sector, that is exactly what will happen.

Which is why OHB selling their shares is concerning, since they are have vested interest in competing with AG and Avio and a well known rivalry.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2023 12:54 pm by TheKutKu »

Offline GWR64

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #80 on: 03/18/2023 12:23 pm »
...
Of the three German orbital launcher startups, RFA looks most promising - they are technologically ahead of ISAR Aerospace and HyImpulse. Yes, it would be no surprise if none of them survives, and also none of the other rocket builders that were founded during the past eight years. But I don't see an indication that an end of RFA is imminent.

As long as Arianegroup and Avio continue to get almost all of the public development funds in this sector, that is exactly what will happen.

Which is why OHB selling their shares is concerning, since they are have vested interest in competing with AG and a well known rivalry.

Current example,
https://www.avio.com/press-release/pnrr-285-mln-innovative-propulsion-technologies-and-new-generation-launchers

Of course, the RFA One would be a competitor for current and future launch vehicles from Avio and Arianegroup.
The Falcon 1/9 example shows that something like this, can also grow.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2023 12:25 pm by GWR64 »

Offline leovinus

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #81 on: 03/18/2023 01:07 pm »
(source in German)

That German source is a newspaper actually, the Augsburger Allgemeine.

But the majority stake sale per se is not bad. E. g. it may mean that OHB has found a capable investor who is willing to found RFA through going orbital, under the condition that OHB gives them total control of the company.

When you read the German newspaper, the article is clear is that there is no new investor on the horizon. OHB wants to "take a step back" and get rid of their 57%. They are looking for buyers but no interest yet.

Also, the article finishes with (rough translation by me) "With the withdrawal OHB would give up the complete strategy of in-house rocket and satellite building as well as in-house spaceflight services."

We will see what this means for RFA.

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #82 on: 03/18/2023 01:37 pm »
When you read the German newspaper, the article is clear is that there is no new investor on the horizon. OHB wants to "take a step back" and get rid of their 57%. They are looking for buyers but no interest yet.

That article actually says that OHB wants to reduce its RFA share from 57% to below 50%. By selling a significant part of their shares (and very likely by issuing new RFA shares to the new investor, which also would decrease the percentual OHB stake). This means OHB wants to hide RFA losses from their earnings statement, and hand control of RFA to someone else.

No word of OHB abandoning RFA. "OHB is selling its 57% stake in Rocketfactory Augsburg" is total fake news by Mr. Wunderlich-Pfeifer. I also fell for that disinformation.  :-[

« Last Edit: 03/18/2023 01:47 pm by PM3 »
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #83 on: 04/19/2023 04:23 am »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1648356324546052099

Quote
+/- three days...who cares? #teamspace In the meantime, we're excited to shorten the wait for you!

We have ticked off another milestone! ✅ Our team in Portugal has been successfully building & testing our in-house developed fairing.
 
Here's a look behind the scenes ⬇️

Offline moontomars

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #84 on: 05/21/2023 11:02 am »
It's been a while since I've updated my analysis. Going through recent company data, I did however find some new interesting things. Key parts: RFA released their 2021 annual report and OHB released their Q1 2023 report with new findings.

My takeaways so far:
Key issue is closing the Series B and transitioning from OHB to a strategic investor

- RFA is trying to close a EUR 30 million Series B with a strategic investor, which was planned for end of 2022 / early 2023
- OHB is officially giving up its strategic position in RFA according to OHB’s Q1 2023 report. They have closed a voting rights agreement with RFA in February 2023, leading to the deconsolidation of RFA from OHB's financial statements
- In April 2023, RFA issued another debt convertible, securing EUR 4,8 million at an implied valuation of EUR 160 million
- In May 2023, previous debt holders called their convertibles, relieving RFA of debt obligations and increasing RFA’s share capital by 1,285,619 to 11,830,467 shares

We assume these are a mixture of preparatory and precautionary steps to close the Series B funding round and welcome new strategic investors.

Other interesting facts:
- At the end of 2021, RFA officially had 125 employees, of which 50 were students and interns (>40%)
- They received an average of 690 applications and held 75 interviews per month
- We stumbled upon small scale investments such as Kalodion Fonds XVIII, who now have at least 87,500 shares in RFA, though it is unclear who the ultimate beneficiary is
- The April 2023 debt convertible has 4 year term at below market rate of 3% p.a. - future debt financing will get more expensive
- The 2021 internal roadmap is still (mostly) on track: “Q2-22 Full Engine Test, Q4-22 2nd Stage Integrated Stage Test, Q2-23 1st Stage Qualification und Q4-23 1st Launch”. According to Frank Strang from SaxaVord, RFA will do 1st & 2nd stage test on site in SaxaVord in Q3 2023.

Seems like, similar to Isar Aerospace, the funding round is taking quite a bit longer and transitioning away from OHB takes time. The new convertible could be enough to fund them for a few months until the ink is dry, because I would assume that a deal has taken place already but yet to be announced..

Full analysis with more insights can be found here as always: https://moontomars.space/space-companies/rocket-factory-augsburg/

Offline GWR64

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #85 on: 05/21/2023 12:14 pm »
Redshift OTV, the 3rd stage of the RFA-One.
Interesting fuel combination nitromethane + laughing gas.

https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1658502578169102337

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #86 on: 06/01/2023 07:21 pm »

Offline aga

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #87 on: 06/02/2023 03:56 pm »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #88 on: 06/02/2023 03:58 pm »
https://www.rfa.space/280-seconds-rfa-completes-full-duration/

Quote
280 seconds! RFA completes full duration
First full duration hot fire of a staged–combustion stage in Europe

June 2, 2023

Augsburg, Germany – June 2, 2023. Launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA) has successfully hot fired its upper stage for a full duration of 280 seconds. This marks the successful completion of the Integrated System Test (IST) campaign, in which a staged-combustion Helix engine was integrated into an upper stage tank system and hot fired several times up to full duration in the final test. This is the 1st time in Europe that a privately developed staged combustion upper stage has been successfully hot fired.

In the now successfully completed IST campaign, all stage level systems and components were tested. The final test was a full duration burn of 280 seconds. This makes RFA the 1st private company in Europe to successfully hot fire a stage with a staged-combustion engine for its full duration. With this long duration burn, the Helix engine is now qualified at the same time for both first and second stage flight.

”The upper stage performed flawlessly and ran through the full 310s autosequence without tripping any redlines. The engine run-time was 280s and no damages could be identified after the test. This is the first successful qualification test of our upper stage, and we are super proud of our team for designing, building and testing in such a time- and money-efficient fashion” said Dr. Stefan Brieschenk, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “The data we have collected will allow us to tune all stage sub-systems, for both the upper and first stage. Our next big step is the first stage hot firing test. We are approaching our first launch with great strides, it is getting serious.”

Dr. Stefan Tweraser, RFA’s Chief Executive Officer added: “This successful test is a massive leap forward for us. It’s a full confirmation of our strategy to develop a small launcher that is both very powerful and achieves cost-leadership. With this full duration test we have demonstrated again that we are able to complete more milestones with less, but smarter investments than any of our competitors”.

The campaign, which was conducted at Esrange Space Center in Sweden, is the most important milestone in the development process so far: 280 seconds of steady-state combustion proved the functionality and compatibility of all upper stage systems, including fueling processes, fuel management, pressurization, sensors, propulsion and control. Valuable data was collected for further engine and stage optimization. RFA will now focus on the assembly of the first stage and continue the construction work on the launch pad.

About staged combustion

Back in July 2021, RFA became the first company in the European Union to successfully develop and test a staged combustion engine with a successful eight-second hot fire test. This made RFA the third commercial company in the world to successfully test a staged combustion rocket engine on a large scale. This was followed in August 2022 by a hot fire campaign of the Helix in flight configuration with a total burn time of 74 seconds. The same engine was fired and stopped three times without having to replace any components.
 
The staged combustion technology is characterized by higher efficiency and performance compared to conventional open-cycle rocket engines. The partially unburned exhaust gases from the turbopump are fed into the main combustion chamber, avoiding the release of unburned fuel. Recycling the exhaust significantly increases the efficiency of the launch vehicle while reducing launch costs and minimizing CO2 emissions during rocket launches. 

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 highly competitive 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 Redshift OTV; at a highly competitive price; made possible by superior staged combustion technology, low–cost stainless steel structures and usage of industrial components.

Offline Mahurora

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #89 on: 06/06/2023 11:05 pm »
Question to the members who've been following RFA, are they still using Yuzhmash-supplied components like RD-8 design based turbopump? I've naturally assumed that their Helix engine after the transition to SCC would've continued using Ukrainian components and design but it seems like their progress wasn't as hugely affected as I've anticipated by the war. Or did they actually turn in-house with a new design?

Also, it seems like they moved their primary launch site from Andøya Space Center to SaxaVord, though Andøya Space still lists them as one of their primary partners alongside Isar. Does anyone know if their partnership with Andøya Space are still ongoing?
« Last Edit: 06/06/2023 11:15 pm by Mahurora »

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #90 on: 06/07/2023 12:24 pm »
Question to the members who've been following RFA, are they still using Yuzhmash-supplied components like RD-8 design based turbopump? I've naturally assumed that their Helix engine after the transition to SCC would've continued using Ukrainian components and design but it seems like their progress wasn't as hugely affected as I've anticipated by the war. Or did they actually turn in-house with a new design?

The Ukrainian space industry in the Dnipro region is up and running. I don't think that RFA would survive another engine redesign - they must stay with Ukrainian turbopumps. This is an oxygen-rich staged combustion cycle, no chance to develop that from scratch with RFA's resources.
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Offline CameronD

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #91 on: 06/16/2023 02:10 am »
An interesting side-note from a couple of months back:
Quote
04/05/2023 - Conflux Technology (Conflux) – an Australian metal additive manufacturing (AM) innovator of heat exchangers, and German-based Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) are entering into a partnership to embed the Conflux heat exchanger into a gas duct of an orbital rocket. This project is part of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Initiative: Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grant Program. The $1 million AUD grant funding is being used to develop and manufacture this 3D printed heat exchanger.

https://www.confluxtechnology.com/article/conflux-technology-partnering-with-rocket-factory-augsburg-to-develop-aerospace-heat-exchangers
« Last Edit: 06/16/2023 02:11 am by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline aga

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42

Offline trimeta

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #93 on: 06/24/2023 01:30 am »
They've been working towards this for almost three years (if not longer), but glad to see they got the deal signed.

Offline Bean Kenobi

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #94 on: 06/24/2023 11:32 am »
1st flight of RFA One in April 2024, from Saxavord. Will be 1st orbital launch from Saxavord.

Quote
In April 2024, another German firm – Rocket Factory Augsburg – aims to achieve the first-ever orbital satellite launch from European soil after blasting off from a launch pad called Fredo at SaxaVord.

Source : https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1783992/Shetland-SaxaVord-spaceport-launching-satellites
« Last Edit: 06/24/2023 11:33 am by Bean Kenobi »

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #95 on: 08/07/2023 02:16 pm »
https://www.rfa.space/rfa-secures-30m-investment-from-kkr/

RFA secures €30m investment from KKR

- KKR will become a leading investor in RFA alongside the existing strategic investor OHB
- Investment comes after RFA’s successful completion of its upper stage hot fire test in May 2023, which was the first of its kind in Europe
- With the capital from KKR, RFA will bring its RFA ONE micro launcher to the launchpad at SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland
- RFA offers cost-effective and flexible launch services to space as global demand for access to space rises


Augsburg, Germany –  August 7th 2023. Launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA) today announced that it has raised a €30 million investment from KKR, a leading global investment firm. The fresh funding is a vote of confidence for RFA as global demand for access to space continues to grow. The investment will facilitate RFA’s upcoming integrated first stage test and complete the company’s launch pad at SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland, to eventually bring the RFA ONE microlauncher to the launchpad. The first flight is scheduled for Q2 2024. With its €30 million convertible bond investment, KKR will become a leading investor in RFA alongside the existing strategic investor OHB.

Stefan Tweraser, CEO at RFA: “We aim to provide cost-effective access to space and data-generating business models in space for monitoring, connecting, and protecting our planet. This new financing reflects confidence in RFA and validates our cost-efficient approach and technical achievements. Partnering with KKR as a long-term investor makes us proud – their financial resources, global network and industrial expertise will accelerate our mission, and support RFA towards our first launch next year and beyond.”

As global demand for cost-effective and flexible launch services to access space rises, RFA’s launch service offering is ideally positioned to benefit from this market opportunity. KKR’s investment follows the company’s successful completion of its upper stage hot fire test in May 2023, the first of its kind in Europe. This underlines investors’ trust in the business model of RFA, which prioritizes speedy and sustainable growth and maintains strong investment value for existing and new investors, and extends RFA’s technology and cost leadership.

Christian Ollig, Partner and Head of the DACH region at KKR: “KKR is excited to support RFA in its efforts to revolutionize access to space, which is crucial for emerging technologies that will shape our future. The team’s exceptional 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.”

KKR’s investment comes from a holding company owned by its newest European private equity fund, KKR European Fund VI.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #96 on: 08/09/2023 05:19 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1689309083478720512

Quote
In the 5⃣ years since RFA was founded, we developed our staged-combustion Helix engine, built and qualified the first stage of our RFA ONE and, as the first company in Europa, conducted a successful staged-combustion upper stage hot fire test 🔥 Now we raised €30m from @KKR_Co.

And we’re not slowing down! What do we have planned?

We will use the funds to facilitate our upcoming integrated first stage test, complete our company's launch pad at @SaxaVord_Spaceport in Scotland, and ultimately bring our RFA ONE to the launchpad.

We look forward to lifting off! 🚀

Offline Tywin

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #97 on: 09/20/2023 04:34 pm »
The knowledge is power...Everything is connected...
The Turtle continues at a steady pace ...

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #98 on: 09/21/2023 04:15 am »
Oddly short cone on top, including the cap. I guess they expect to have a payload fairing over the cone and pressurized volume (white part), but the service module/trunk part looks more like an externally exposed shell?

Getting a HIAD-like capsule vibe for some reason.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #99 on: 09/21/2023 09:45 am »
Oddly short cone on top, including the cap. I guess they expect to have a payload fairing over the cone and pressurized volume (white part), but the service module/trunk part looks more like an externally exposed shell?

Getting a HIAD-like capsule vibe for some reason.
The 'cone' over the docking adapter is likely a contamination cover to prevent FOD on the mating and sealing surfaces, with protection from ascent aerodynamic loads being a completely separate structure; e.g. a discardable nose cover, or launching inside a fairing.

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #100 on: 09/22/2023 08:17 am »
Picture from the tweet.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline tankat0208

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #101 on: 09/25/2023 02:26 pm »
Oddly short cone on top, including the cap. I guess they expect to have a payload fairing over the cone and pressurized volume (white part), but the service module/trunk part looks more like an externally exposed shell?

Getting a HIAD-like capsule vibe for some reason.
The 'cone' over the docking adapter is likely a contamination cover to prevent FOD on the mating and sealing surfaces, with protection from ascent aerodynamic loads being a completely separate structure; e.g. a discardable nose cover, or launching inside a fairing.

It is an HIAD-inflatable return capsule. I've pasted their twitter and linkedIn post on the vehicle, and some additional images.
https://x.com/rfa_space/status/1704888661811110020?s=20

One (c)argo capsule, tons of possibilities!
 
Argo can carry 3,400kg in LEO, has nearly 13 cubic meters of pressurized cargo space, and best of all, it has an integrated inflatable re-entry module. So it doesn't just restore European cargo capability. It also enables the valuable return of material and experiments to Earth.
 
A game-changer for European spaceflight!


https://www.linkedin.com/posts/rfa-space_team-assemble-we-collaborated-with-two-activity-7112045305730080768-ieU8?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Team, assemble! We collaborated with two experienced and innovative partners, ATMOS Space Cargo and Sener, to present Argo to the European Space Agency - ESA .

With systems like
🔥 Fenix engine
🚀 Stainless steel structures
🗺 Autonomous Guidance and Control for Rendezvous
🤝 Advanced Docking Mechanism
🎈 Inflatable atmospheric decelerator (re-entry module)
we will be able to offer a unique, capable and cost-efficient European transportation service!

The consortium also includes OHB SE as a service provider and MT Aerospace AG as an industrialization partner.



Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #102 on: 09/25/2023 03:00 pm »
One of the original proposed uses for HIAD was to allow return of Cygnus. Looks like someone is finally going to make it happen with similar spacecraft.

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_HEART_concept.jpg

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #103 on: 10/18/2023 05:47 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1714672794867224794

Quote
The sky's not the limit anymore; it's just the beginning!

Today, at the @Der_BDI #Weltraumkongress in Berlin, we unveiled a groundbreaking partnership with @yurigravity  and @AtmosSpaceCargo  that will redefine micro gravity research, product development and in-space manufacturing as we know it!

Read our full press release ➡️

https://www.rfa.space/rfa-atmos-yuri-launch-biotech-microgravity-service/

Quote
Three German NewSpace companies launch “Eva”, the world’s first end-to-end microgravity service for biotech research and product development
October 18, 2023

Rocket Factory Augsburg (short: RFA) offers flexible and low-cost launch services thus providing affordable access to space

ATMOS Space Cargo develops reusable, modular, and highly scalable return space capsules for any scientific payload, experiment, or equipment

Yuri develops modular bioreactors and incubators to be used in microgravity environments to develop and manufacture superior biotech products in space
The new microgravity end-to-end service will be available from 2025.

This service is an answer to the growing demand of the life sciences industry. The total in-space manufacturing market is expected to reach €7 billion in 2030.


Weltraumkongress, Berlin, Germany – October 18, 2023.

Three pioneering German NewSpace companies, Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), Yuri, and ATMOS Space Cargo (ATMOS) announced their new partnership and launch of their joint end-to-end service for microgravity life science research and product development at this year’s edition of Weltraumkongress in Berlin, Germany. This holistic  solution represents an unprecedented and flexible alternative to the ISS laboratory and initiates a new generation for microgravity research and thus advancement in biotech, life science, and product development worldwide.

THREE NewSpace experts - ONE microgravity service

In this consortium, Rocket Factory Augsburg is responsible for the entire launch service, including the launch system, infrastructure, outbound logistics, and the operational launch campaign. RFA will be delivering ATMOS Space Cargo’s Phoenix capsule with Yuri’s ScienceTaxi to the precise target orbit in a flexible and low-cost manner. The company will be responsible for the integration of the Phoenix space capsule onto its RFA ONE launch system while providing late access to the payload.
The launch campaigns are to be carried out from SaxaVord Spaceport (previously known as Shetland Space Center) on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands in Scotland, UK.

Yuri operates the ScienceTaxi, which will be integrated into the Phoenix capsule by ATMOS Space Cargo. With its groundbreaking life science incubator and bioreactor solutions, Yuri will be responsible for the execution of biotech research and manufacturing in space.

ATMOS Space Cargo is responsible for the re-entry logistics and operating the return mission of the Phoenix return capsule which will be carrying Yuri’s ScienceTaxi. ATMOS will supervise and execute the safe return from low Earth orbit (LEO) to the Azores and carry out the early retrieval of the capsule after landing as well as the recovery mission to the final location.

Jörn Spurmann, CCO at Rocket Factory Augsburg:

“With “Eva” we will set up a unique global service that will allow breakthrough insights in BioTech and product development. Customers receive a complete solution from three experts in their respective fields, allowing them to focus on their core business. We are also particularly proud to be able to fully map the value chain with our partners in Germany. This is a great sign of German NewSpace Industry capability.”

Maria Birlem, Co-CEO at Yuri:

“In this new era of space exploration and commercialization, Europe and Germany must not only witness, but actively shape the future. With the combined strengths of Rocket Factory Augsburg, ATMOS Space Cargo, and Yuri, we’re not just aiming to level the playing field with the USA; we’re setting our sights on pioneering new frontiers in LEO commercialization. It’s high time Europe takes its rightful place at the forefront of space innovation.”

Christian Grimm, Lead Systems Engineer and Co-Founder of ATMOS Space Cargo:

“We are excited to establish the first full end-to-end service for biotech research in microgravity and thus creating new possibilities to utilize space for in-orbit product development. With our partners at Yuri and at the Rocket Factory Augsburg, we will boost the German NewSpace industry to the forefront of Europe’s expertise in space. This will mark the turning point for affordable in-orbit science and a possible role model for the commercialization of space – launch, return, repeat!”
 
— END —

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #104 on: 10/26/2023 06:09 am »
Australian company Conflux Technology is providing 3D printed heat exchangers to RFA.

"Conflux expects its delivery of the launch-ready heat exchanger to RFA in early 2024."

https://www.industry.gov.au/news/keeping-rocket-engines-cool-3d-printed-technology
« Last Edit: 10/26/2023 06:09 am by Steven Pietrobon »
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #105 on: 10/26/2023 07:40 pm »
https://twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1717552231795364073
Quote from: Rocket Factory Augsburg
This has been a very special day for RFA! Bringing @Erdayastronaut down to southern Germany to visit us 🚀 And what a blast we had!

To  shorten the time until the release of his video about it, we wanted to give you a sneak peek of the meet & greet at our headquarters
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Offline PM3

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #106 on: 10/27/2023 07:20 am »
Quote from: Jeff Foust
UK helps fund Rocket Factory Augsburg’s maiden flight

TAMPA, Fla. — The UK Space Agency is providing £3.5 million ($4.3 million) to help Germany’s Rocket Factory Augsburg prepare for its maiden flight next year from SaxaVord Spaceport, located in Scotland’s Shetland Islands.

https://spacenews.com/uk-helps-fund-rocket-factory-augsburgs-maiden-flight/

Note that RFA One was announced as an ultra low-cost launcher,  € 3 million per launch as of 2021. There have been performance increasements and inflation since then, but $ 4.3 million could still be near the regular launch price.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2023 08:31 am by PM3 »
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #107 on: 11/08/2023 02:43 pm »
https://twitter.com/esa_transport/status/1722152399219868082

Quote
ESA further boosts @rfa_space across Europe. 🚀

RFA One is an orbital vehicle that will have three stages and be launched from @SaxaVord_Space in the UK.
30 m tall and 2 m in diameter, RFA One targets a deployment capability of up to 1300 kg to a 500 km polar orbit.

RFA One is being developed in Augsburg, Germany 🇩🇪, with hot-fire tests of the engine and second stage performed at @SSCspace Esrange in Sweden 🇸🇪 under initial Boost! co-funding committed by @ESA in 2022.
Check out this hot-fire test of the Helix engine 🔥

The orbital stage for RFA One, Redshift, is being partly developed in Portugal 🇵🇹. @esa's funding is to aid manufacturing, assembly, integration and system tests leading to hot-fire tests of the Redshift orbital stage.

RFA One is set to be launched from @SaxaVord_Space, Shetland Islands, northern UK 🇬🇧. ESA is contributing to develop and deploy the launch pad infrastructure to further test the RFA One first stage, perform its inaugural launch and ensure regular service afterwards.

“We are especially pleased to see Boost! funds being distributed across @ESA Member States to support development of RFA One spurring pan-#European highly-skilled jobs and knowhow to foster commercial space.”

Details:

https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Space_Transportation/Boost/ESA_further_boosts_RFA_One_across_Europe

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #108 on: 12/14/2023 06:45 pm »
twitter.com/rfa_space/status/1735352171816784240

Quote
4000kg cargo capability up and down. ✅
13 cubic meters of pressurized volume. ✅
2 unique Fenix engines. ✅
1 Inflatable Atmospheric Decelerator for full reusability. ✅
 
Argo was designed for heavy lifting.
Find out why at https://www.rfa.space/argo/

https://twitter.com/andrewparsonson/status/1735353195650531551

Quote
.@rfa_space have upped the payload capacity of Argo from 3.4 tonnes to 4 tonnes. This is very likely in response to ESA increasing its requirements for the agency's Commercial Cargo Transportation Initiative from 2 tonnes to 4 tonnes.

Offline catdlr

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Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline Tywin

Re: Rocket Factory Augsburg
« Reply #110 on: 02/16/2024 06:44 pm »
The knowledge is power...Everything is connected...
The Turtle continues at a steady pace ...

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