[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?
In the meantime, the start-up has begun building prototypes of its engine.
Quote from: ringsider on 02/14/2021 05:42 pmIn 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)
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.htmlNeed 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.
Quote from: ringsider on 02/14/2021 05:42 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.
Quote from: gmbnz on 02/15/2021 03:47 amQuote from: ringsider on 02/14/2021 05:42 pmIn 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]
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.
Damit fehlt in den Plänen der Rocketfactory Augsburg alles, was die Rakete und deren Geschäftsmodell glaubwürdig machen würde.
Everything that would make the rocket and its business model credible is missing in the plans of the Rocketfactory Augsburg.
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.
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.
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.
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.