Dawn Aerospace Awarded €116,000 to Progress Autonomous Spaceplane Certification in Europe

This MIT R&D collaboration is focused on developing a low-power radar system for the Mk-II Aurora that will detect other aircraft. The new sense and avoid capabilities will support unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) certification across Europe.

The total funding provided by the province of Zuid-Holland for this Dawn-led project is €326,000 and will be awarded to the three collaborating organisations – Dawn, Radar Based Avionics and MetaSensing.

The sense and avoid radar system provided by Radar Based Avionics will independently identify the position and velocity of other nearby aircraft with no dependency on receiving a signal from them – a unique and inherently safer system than relying solely on an ADS-B transponder.  MetaSensing is an expert in radar technology and will supply the radar hardware.           

Mk-II Aurora, Dawn’s suborbital vehicle, is 5 meters in length and will deliver 180 seconds of microgravity for a 4-kilogram payload at 100 km above Earth. The unmanned vehicle will travel at up to three times the speed of sound, and will provide daily access to the upper atmosphere, enabling climate research and space technology demonstrations.

On December 9, Dawn announced the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has granted the company an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate to fly the Mk-II Aurora spaceplane from New Zealand airports.

MIT subsidies encourage innovation and are administered both regionally and nationally across the Netherlands. An R&D project requires the collaboration of at least two businesses that collaborate on a product, production process or service.