ESA commissions OHB consortium with study on the future of European space transportation
Start-up Rocket Factory Augsburg playing a leading role
Bremen, March 11, 2021 - Rocket Factory Augsburg AG, a subsidiary of space and high-tech group OHB SE, has been commissioned by the European Space Agency ESA to conduct a study on the future of the European space transportation sector. The microlauncher manufacturer is heading a consortium which also includes OHB companies MT Aerospace AG and OHB System AG. The objective of the study is to investigate New European Space Transportation Solutions (NESTS) for the period beyond 2030.
The study aims to estimate the future demand for space transportation systems in Europe for the period from 2030 to 2050. To this end, different approaches will be designed and evaluated. These include a generation of launchers geared to future needs as well as all relevant and required services, technologies, infrastructures and organizational concepts. The study is scheduled to last four months. In addition to the OHB consortium, two other consortia have been commissioned in parallel.
“ESA, through its New European Space Transportation Solutions initiative, lays the foundations that enable us to prepare the future beyond Ariane 6 and Vega-C. These system concept studies will include services that prioritise the future needs of Europe’s space programmes but also allow us to address global market needs,” commented Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation.
"The study is about what course Europe needs to set and when, in order to be future-proof in the commercialization of European spaceflight," says Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE. "The task now is to investigate the different space transportation systems and solutions which private initiatives can propose to make Europe a globally sought-after partner for the future of space transportation as well."
The study partners complement each other in their skills
The OHB consortium combines the strengths of start-up Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), space systems company OHB System AG and launcher supplier and manufacturing expert MT Aerospace AG. RFA brings creative and innovative perspectives and focuses on cost-efficient and competitive solutions. It is flanked and supported in all areas by the broad-based expertise and decades of experience of its two consortium partners. "With this study, ESA has selected us in the circle of relevant industrial suppliers who are to propose New Space from a European perspective," says Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at Rocket Factory Augsburg, who wants to prove that consistent serial production can drastically reduce the costs of commercial space transportation. "This also opens up attractive forms of collaboration for government space programs based on commercially developed service offerings."
"We have proven that we can develop and serially manufacture first-class, high-precision launcher structures and tank components, with around ten percent manufacturing shares in each Ariane 5 rocket. This would not have been possible without comprehensive systems expertise," adds Hans Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace AG in Augsburg, which also has a presence at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and offers a wide range of services. "We are pleased to be able to contribute our wealth of experience from more than 50 years of business activity in launcher development, production and testing to the study and to think 'out of the box'!"
More information on NESTS/ESA can be found here.
About Rocket Factory
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 unrivaled 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 February 2021) New Space experts from 25 different countries in Augsburg, Germany, who have previous experience in other launcher projects.
For further information, please visit: www.rfa.space