I got to hear a short talk by one of the founders of Isar Aerospace yesterday. I didn't get to take notes and it was somewhat superficial, but I'll try to remember as much as I can:- They have secured/are looking for the order of €100m in funding- They started out developing engines for sale but now want to build an entire 500kg-1t launch vehicle- Currently around 20 engineers, end of year ~50 mostly engineers, 150 needed for the first launch- They specifically want to not do any development in the US to circumvent ITAR and be able to sell engines and technology on the world market- One of their primary investors is a former SpaceX VP and early employee who is now helping out in sales. Between the lines he indicated they are in talks with actual customers- They're looking at an orbital launch in 2021 from an undisclosed government-provided launch pad
Altan, who was vice president of satellite mission assurance, said he had responsibilities like those of a chief engineer on Starlink, and worked on the constellation “almost to the handover of the prototypes” in 2017, before leaving to start the venture capital firm Global Space Ventures, which is currently raising funds.
[(The company name refers to the Isar, a River in Bavaria where all those organizations are located, and where the rocket would be launched.)
Very interesting, another new launcher company...well 100 millions is not a joke...
Launch from Bavaria? It's that possible?
Umm... yes. This is a cornerstone of the Bavarian state's prestige project "Bavaria One"
But even that project is hit by the failure of the whole Bavaria One concept, which now has hardly any money allocated. They just recently announced a mere EURO 5m for these kinds of projects (plus another EURO 25m for a satellite centre) instead of the expected EURO 700m for all kinds of things including Hyperloop.
The fact that they seem to have secured enough funding to get them through most or all of their development is definitely a point in their favor and puts them in a fairly small subset of the large number of launchers that have been claimed to be under development. That said I have been through the info about this launcher and I am having trouble spotting anything about it which seems to stand out as a competitive advantage except for the fact that they are in Europe. They are targeting somewhere between $16m and $17m per launch. This gives them the following per kg pricing vs the vehicles they are most comparable to:Isar Spectrum $16k-$17kFirefly Alpha $15kABL RS1 $10kRelativity Terran 1 $8kFor European payloads that want to fly specifically on a European launcher I suppose they might be able to compete, but that would likely mean they are strealing that payload from the Vega or Ariane 6. I wonder what dynamics of the situation would be with ESA and Arianespace. Things might get interesting if they suck the wind out of the sails on the Vega.Does anyone see anything else about the vehicle or their stated plan that stands out? Otherwise they just look like the weakest in their cohort of "launchers at the high end of the small launcher space who might actually reach a demo flight".
New Spectrum webpage with nice renderings: https://www.isaraerospace.com/spectrum.phpLength: 27 mDiameter: 2 mFairing options (max. payload size): 1.8 x 4.9 and 2.5 x 5.3 m1st stage engines: 9 x 75 kN, engine-out capability2nd stage engine: 1 x 94 kN1000 kg to LEO700 kg to SSO (height?)This is Firefly Alpha class. Payload User's Guide available on request: https://www.isaraerospace.com/launch.phpHiring: Sales Manager, Accountant, Propulsion Engineer, Propulsion Testing Engineer, Propulsion Testing Technician, Avionics Testing Engineer, Avionics Testing Technician, Electrical Engineer, Satellite Integration Engineer, Structural Engineer, Production Technician, Quality Assurance Engineer, IT Administrator, People Manager
Airbus, which owns 50% of ArianeGroup, buys into the very last startup to appear - and one that:- competes directly with Vega- has no discernable technical advantage
The fact that they seem to have secured enough funding to get them through most or all of their development
"Nothing stands out" is probably the attraction: a proven design with adequate funding should have no real issues producing a viable launcher.
Quote from: Blackjax on 12/13/2019 08:42 pmThe fact that they seem to have secured enough funding to get them through most or all of their developmentNo. $17m is not enough for "most or all of their development" of a 1,000kg launcher, not even close.More like $100m-$150m. This is seed stage money.
...Isar Aerospace’s $17 million Series A will fund the 30-person company through to a full-duration engine hot-fire, Metzler said...