ESA Boost! Contract Signed for Flight Demonstration of Spectrum Launch Vehicle

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Small and medium satellites can expect new launch opportunities on the Spectrum launch vehicle thanks to an ESA Boost! co-funding contract worth €11 million [US $12.39 million] with Isar Aerospace Technologies in Germany.

The flight demonstrations of Spectrum will pave the way for an extended availability of European launch service solutions for small satellites, delivering dedicated launch opportunities.

Munich-based startup Isar Aerospace was initially supported by ESA’s Business Incubation Centre Bavaria and a previous Boost! contract awarded in November 2020. It is developing a 28 m high, 2 m diameter two-stage launch vehicle with a payload capability of up to one tonne to low Earth orbits.

ESA’s Boost! programme supports European entities that submit sound proposals for new commercial services to space, in space, and for return from space. Boost! brings these services towards operation, by providing co-funding, expertise and access to its facilities. This contract with Isar Aerospace follows a national selection process organised by the German Space Agency at DLR.

ESA will support Isar Aerospace with activities covering mission management, customer interactions and preparation to conduct two demonstration flights of Spectrum planned in 2022 and 2023.

ESA is also co-funding the manufacture, assembly, integration and test activities for the first stage structures of these two launch vehicles. This also includes the selection, procurement, and setup of the related manufacturing infrastructure.

These two flights will each host institutional payloads of up to 150 kg which will be selected following a DLR Announcement of Opportunity that closed in October 2021.

“We need to drive the commercialisation of the European space industry to drive our sovereignty in space. Programmes like ESA’s Boost! will help us in reaching that objective,” said Daniel Metzler, CEO at Isar Aerospace Technologies.

The Boost! contract was signed at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, by Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation and Daniel Metzler, CEO at Isar Aerospace Technologies.

“Through this contract with ISAR Aerospace, ESA Boost! provides further support to build up key expertise in industry and to advance swiftly towards concrete milestones. New market opportunities are in reach for Europe with its own small launch vehicles – a field where time is of the essence,” said Daniel Neuenschwander.