Nov 8, 2023
ESA has committed further 'Boost! Programme' funding to German startup Rocket Factory Augsburg, known as RFA, for the development of commercial space transportation services based on the RFA One launch vehicle at sites in Portugal, Germany and the UK.
RFA One is an orbital vehicle that will have three stages and be launched from its SaxaVord launch pad in the UK. Measuring 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.
The RFA One launch vehicle is being developed in Augsburg, Germany, with hot-fire tests of the engine and second stage already performed at the Esrange Space Center in Sweden, under the initial Boost! co-funding committed by ESA in 2022.
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Redshift from Portugal
The orbital stage for RFA One, Redshift, is being partly developed in Portugal. ESA’s co-funding contribution amounts to €2.5 million for the German part and €0.8 million for activities at the Portuguese subsidiary.
The 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 Spaceport from the Shetland Islands, northern UK. ESA is contributing €3.6 million to develop and deploy the launch pad infrastructure which will allow to further test the RFA One first stage, perform the RFA One inaugural launch and ensure regular service after the first launch.
ESA’s Thilo Kranz says, “We are especially pleased to see Boost! funds being distributed across ESA Member States to support the continued development of RFA One launch services spurring pan-European highly-skilled jobs and knowhow to foster commercial space. We look forward to seeing further progress and a first launch.”