OHB Cosmos International Launch Services GmbH, a company of OHB SE’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, as well as LuxSpace, the group’s Luxembourg-based satellite manufacturer, have both signed a contract for a dedicated launch with Germany-based launch service provider, Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), for upcoming missions that are scheduled for mid-2024 and 2025.
OHB Cosmos is the launch service provider of the OHB group. The company features a proven track record of organizing and conducting launches for institutional and commercial customers.
OHB Cosmos is trusted by governments and institutions around the world and has launched all of the German Bundeswehr’s SAR-Lupe satellites.
Recently, OHB Cosmos demonstrated its capabilities to conduct responsive launches. In January 2021, the company launched a customer’s spacecraft within a sevenmonth timeline. This marked a novelty on the commercial satellite launch market.
LuxSpace is the smallsat platforms expert of the OHB group and a provider of integrated applications and services. The company boosts a heritage in delivering microsatellite solutions for both global institutional and commercial customers, including the recently launched ESAIL satellite, powered by LuxSpace’s Triton-2 platform and developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and exactEarth. ESAIL broke records in February 2021 by capturing two million AIS messages from ships at sea in a single day.
Rocket Factory, a start-up backed by the German satellite maker OHB as a strategic investor and Venture Capital firm Apollo Capital Partners, is currently developing a launcher system called RFA One for smallsats with a payload performance of up to 1300 kg to LEO. The first launch is scheduled for the end of 2022. The company recently qualified the upper stage tank system during cryogenic tests and currently is running a test campaign to hot-fire the main engine in Esrange, Sweden.
“OHB Cosmos and Rocket Factory share a common philosophy to provide the most customer-centric service at the lowest possible prices. OHB Cosmos with its extensive experience in launching satellites manufactured by the OHB group for its commercial and institutional customers, has now found its perfect match with RFA and its RFA ONE launch vehicle,” said Lutz Bertling, Chief Strategy & Development Officer at OHB. “Launching with a German-based launch provider simplifies and speeds up the whole process of launching payloads into orbit. We want to offer the most reliable and fastest launch service to our customers and are convinced that RFA will play a key role in improving the launch experience for our customers.”
“Signing with OHB Cosmos and LuxSpace demonstrates the competitiveness of RFA ONE,” said Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. “We are particularly proud that both companies picked RFA ONE over the numerous launch service providers they have previously been working with. Launching European-built spacecraft with a launch vehicle developed in Germany marks a significant milestone for Europe in its way to achieve independent access to space that secures prosperity for the next generations by fostering innovation and technological progress.”
“Through its one-of-a-kind orbital stage, RFA ONE offers unrivaled in-orbit flexibility and injection accuracy, which is exactly what our customers demand for their very specific and critical missions,” said Professor Dr. Indulis Kalnins, Managing Director at OHB Cosmos. “Our intention with this contract is to secure a launch opportunity for one of our customers’ planned launches in 2024. This launch agreement allows us to cater to all our customers’ requirements at the best possible price point.”
Dr. Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operating Officer at RFA, added, “We are super excited to see RFA ONE entering into service with OHB Cosmos and LuxSpace. The RFA ONE launch system combines the most competitive payload capacity within its class with a disruptively low launch price. This is possible only by employing the most efficient propulsion technology available today: staged combustion. In addition to that, RFA ONE features a unique orbital stage to precisely position our customers’ payloads in their target orbits through additional on-orbit maneuvers, including inclination- and RAAN changes.”
“LuxSpace enables the space ambitions of business leaders and institutions requiring reliable platforms and integrated services to successfully fulfil their mission’s objectives. RFA ONE, through its one-of-akind orbital stage offers us the injection accuracy we are looking for to serve our customers. We are convinced that this launch service will set the bar for all missions to follow and are excited to partner with them,” said Edgar Milic, Chief Executive Officer at LuxSpace.