CST and RFA to offer unique orbits with new partnership

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 25, 2021German-based launch service provider Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) and UK-based launch broker Commercial Space Technologies (CST) have solidified their partnership with an MoU. Both CST, the world’s longest-standing launch broker, and RFA, Europe’s technology leader for launch vehicles, profit from this cooperation as well as customers worldwide, which get tailored launch services to unique orbits at the most competitive prices. 

The partnership will offer launch opportunities that are currently undersupplied to the market. Larger rideshare missions are often confined to orbits driven by popular demand, while smaller launch vehicles below the 1 ton performance threshold have limitations in the orbits they can offer. The performance of the RFA vehicle of 1300 kg to LEO offers the benefits of a dedicated launch with greater flexibility to get your spacecraft to where it needs to go. While CST’s experienced management team can capture and implement unique logistical, contractual and supply chain requirements that are often unavailable for larger rideshare launches. This combination of unique technology and skills can support customers on range-unique missions, such as:

  • Tundra and Molniya Orbits – There is increased urgency to monitor the environments of the Earth’s poles, as well as to supply communications to researchers, local inhabitants and shipping routes. These highly elliptical orbits are challenging to access and rideshare opportunities are limited to infrequent Russian and US federal missions. RFA can launch up to 1.000 kg to either of these orbits.
  • Escape Trajectories – Some customers may require release from Earth’s orbit, such as: interplanetary probes, commercial ‘off-planet’ mining operations, science missions targeting Lagrange points, etc. Traditional launch opportunities are often limited to infrequent government launches that are prone to delays. On-demand, dedicated launch, through CST and RFA could offer a timely and dependable alternative in these instances.
  • Lunar – The emerging lunar economy brings exciting commercial and research prospects. Launches supporting lunar orbit or landing missions can be discussed and solutions adapted to the requirements of the customer.
  • Short lead times – For any final tweaks you may need before launch, timelines between signing of interface control documentation and integration will be 6 weeks, compared to typical lead times of three months for most rideshare launches. This timeline may be further improved on a case-by-case basis.
  • Late access – There are benefits to having late access to your payload, for example biomedical payloads with living cultures that are sensitive to powering down for long durations. On request, RFA and CST can support access to payloads 12 hours before launch.

Dr. Stefan Tweraser, Chief Executive Officer of RFA, says: “The demand for simple polar, but also highly elliptical polar orbits is steadily increasing. RFA can offer its customers not only precise delivery in these orbits, but also a comprehensive package of end-to-end services in cooperation with CST. Our customers can thus be assured that their flight into the near-Earth orbit will be custom-tailored, reliable, fast and affordable.” 

Alan Webb, Managing Director of CST, says: “We have been approached several times in the past by customers looking for ‘exotic’ launches to orbits like Molniya. It has been disappointing to have to turn such customers away because the launch options simply aren’t available. We are therefore delighted to partner with RFA and broaden the portfolio of launch options we can offer our customers. Furthermore, market trends and our own experience indicates demand for these launches will only increase,  thus adding immense value to this partnership and the bespoke solutions it can offer.”