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RFA Wins 11 Million Euros in the DLR Microlauncher Competition

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
April 26, 2022
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RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

BERLIN, Germany, April 25, 2022 (RFA PR) – Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) wins the 2022 round of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) microlauncher competition. The prize values 11 million Euros [USD $11.7 million]. As a result, the German government will be an anchor customer of RFA ONE. On each of the first two flights of RFA ONE, a payload of up to 150 kg will be placed by DLR.

“We are very pleased to have won DLR as an anchor customer and are honored by the confidence the German government is placing in us. We believe that buying services from newly emerging and commercially acting Space Transportation companies is the right direction for European spaceflight”, says Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. “Launching with us as in the frame of this DLR competition is a unique opportunity for many institutions and new space companies in Germany and we are working full throttle to offer a variety of innovative, reliable and affordable services – on the ground, to-orbit and on-orbit”.

RFA is developing its three-stage rocket RFA ONE, which can deliver up to 1,350 kg to a low polar Earth orbit. The rocket is 30 meters high and 2 meters wide and has reached important milestones in its development over the past year: RFA hot fired its highly efficient staged combustion engine “Helix” multiple times, is now producing the first batch of flight configuration engines and conducted a successful pressure test with its extensively reusable core stage. 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.

RFA has already signed a launch contract with Lunar Research Service (LRS) for its first launch and signed launch contracts with nine other customers for future launches.

About the competition:

The DLR microlauncher competition has two main objectives: It aims to strengthen commercial and cost-effective transport into orbit in Germany and to provide new impetus for German founders to develop business models that are viable in the long term. The decision for RFA was made by a jury chaired by Dr. Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy. Technical, economic and operational evaluation criteria were decisive for the selection in all competition phases. The competition is part of the Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support (C-STS) program by the European Space Agency. It was initiated and funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and conducted by the DLR.

About Rocket Factory

Rocket Factory Augsburg was founded in 2018 with the vision to enable data from space to better understand and protect our Earth. With this in mind, RFA wants to democratize access to space and reduce the launch costs in the space industry. The company’s goal is to launch satellites into low Earth orbits on a weekly basis at unmatched prices. 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 orbital stage, at a highly competitive price, made possible by superior staged combustion technology, industrial automation and low-cost structures.