Marco Fuchs announces agreement with Pedro Siza Vieira, Minister for the Economy and Prof. Heitor, Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education in Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal – April 23, 2021 – Rocket Factory Portugal LDA Unipessoal, a subsidiary of German launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), successfully concluded the contractual negotiations to develop composite structures of its launch vehicle RFA ONE together with CEiiA, a Portuguese Engineering and Development Center based in Matosinhos, North of Portugal. The announcement took place during the event “Space in the Recovery of Portugal and Europe” in Lisbon, to be followed by a visit to the island of Santa Maria, Azores.
Manuel Heitor, Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education that the installation of RFA Portugal opens a new phase of the Portuguese strategy for space and a new moment towards the effective use of Space systems in the recovery of Portugal and Europe.
Developing micro launchers in Europe is a critically relevant step to foster European autonomy and resilience in space and to help promoting skilled employment, together with new markets to foster the green transition of our societies in articulation with the emerging opportunities of digital transition. It is a step forward in the “European NewSpace for people”.
“We are currently experiencing very exciting times in European space. New markets are forming that new, young companies want to conquer commercially. A number of startups are currently developing microlaunchers around the world. I am convinced that this market of low-cost and industrially manufactured launchers will be highly lucrative. That is why I am very pleased that we are entering into a joint venture with Rocket Factory Augsburg and CEiiA for the design and industrialization of microlaunchers in Portugal. Portugal is an emerging country in European space and especially in the field of microlaunchers. I am very much looking forward to the collaboration.”, said Marco Fuchs, Board Member of RFA and the CEO of OHB SE the major space integrator in Europe.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome RFA to Portugal. This investment project is an important step to put Portugal at the forefront of innovation in such a pioneering sector as the rocket industry, proving talent is key. In fact, this partnership with CEIIA proves once again the enormous capability of our engineering talent. A decade ago, Portugal was starting the aeronautical sector. Now, we are entering a new era, planting the seeds of the Space Industry in our country. We are launching the Space Era!”, said Luís Castro Henriques, Chairman & CEO of AICEP.
The project scope comprises the development and qualification of the orbital stage and payload fairing structures made from advanced CFRP materials aiming for serial production. RFA Portugal will invest 9 million euros over a duration of three years with the clear goal of the subsequent industrialization in Portugal. The investment will be supported by AICEP.
“We are honored to play such a vital role in the Portuguese space industry. PT Space is doing a fantastic job with their space strategy. The partnership supported by AICEP will enable launcher development in Portugal, leveraging the highly-skilled talent pool in Portugal combined with the industrialization know-how from Germany,” said Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA and Managing Director at RFA Portugal.
Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operating Officer at RFA, added, “The orbital stage and the payload fairing developed in this project play a critical role with respect to launcher capabilities. The concept of serial production is new to the launcher industry and we are excited to go this path with our Portuguese development partner CEiiA leveraging their unrivalled track-record with respect to developing ultra-competitive composite products.”
“We are currently starting the prototyping phase of the orbital stage demonstrator together with RFA Portugal under ESA’s C-STS program based on the great support from the Portuguese Space Agency, PT Space. Kicking off this contract with the development of these complex space components towards the series production and qualification of composite launcher structures is the next logical step. We are happy to contribute to RFA’s vision and humbled to have been selected to undertake this extraordinary challenge.” said Tiago Rebelo, technical director at CEiiA.
Portuguese Trade & Investment Agency is a government entity focused on attracting productive investment, increasing exports, and internationalizing Portuguese businesses to boost the country’s economy. AICEP is a “one-stop shop” agency and the ideal business partner for those looking to invest in Portugal or to purchase Portuguese products and services. With offices in Portugal and abroad, AICEP supports international companies investing in Portugal through project analysis and by helping select installation sites and human resources. Its current president is Luís Castro Henriques. For further information, please visit: www.portugalglobal.pt
Rocket Factory was founded in 2018 by Jörn Spurmann and Stefan Brieschenk, investor Hans Steininger and German aerospace company OHB SE. The start-up’s goal is to develop a launch vehicle prototype by the end of 2022 that can transport satellites to low-Earth orbits on a weekly basis at unrivalled prices. Rocket Factory is aiming for exponential growth in the booming New Space market. The start-up’s goal is to combine maximum performance with extremely cost-effective manufacturing processes and design principles. The experts plan the concept of the rocket from the perspective of the satellites and the customers: Rocket Factory will precisely launch satellites into the desired orbits using a unique orbital stage. The launcher will thus provide an end-to-end delivery service for the last mile. The launcher combines three key competitive advantages: a highly cost-effective architecture, precise in-orbit delivery and superior propulsion technology. The startup employs a team of 85 (as of April 2021) New Space experts from 25 different countries in Augsburg, Germany, who have previous experience in other launcher projects. For further information, please visit: https://www.rfa.space
CEiiA is a Centre of Engineering and Product Development focused on fostering sustainability and quality of life, while addressing complex challenges across the board and working in high-tech sectors such as, automotive and mobility, aeronautics, ocean and space. CEiiA’s vision is to establish Portugal as a reference within these high-tech industries, contributing to a more sustainable society, and developing technologies, products and systems conceived, industrialized and operated from Portugal. CEiiA operates in the global market, having a subsidiary in Brazil and engineering teams deployed in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France and Italy. Currently, CEiiA has a team of +300 Researchers and Engineers presently involved in Development & Engineering activities with integrated product and process development methodologies, based upon full capabilities for product development including concept, design, research, engineering, prototyping and testing of materials and full-scale structures.