27 October 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Shetland satellite funding boost

Satellite launch company RFA UK (Rocket Factory Ltd) has received £3.5mln to support its aim to launch from SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Islands, UK.

RFA Render 15 © RFA UK

The funding was awarded by the UK Space Agency as part of the European Space Agency (ESA), Boost! Programme, which aims to help innovative companies develop new launch technologies and bring them to market.

RFA UK will use the funding to develop and operate the infrastructure and test equipment needed to enable them to launch from SaxaVord Spaceport and are planning to launch in quarter two 2024.

Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA AG) will have exclusive access to SaxaVord’s ‘Fredo’ launch pad.  

Measuring 30m tall and 2m wide, the RFA ONE launch vehicle is a three-stage launch vehicle capable of deploying up to 1,300kg to a 500km polar orbit.

The rocket uses Helix staged-combustion engines, stainless steel tanks and standardised components from other industries to offer flexible, low-cost and precise transportation into orbit with its Redshift OTV. 

RFA UK and SaxaVord Spaceport anticipate around 90 skilled jobs will be created locally when the spaceport reaches full operational capability including spaceport operations and administration, integration, testing and launch. 

Jörn Spurmann, Managing Director, RFA UK and Chief Commercial Officer, RFA AG, ‘The support received from the UK Space Agency underscores their strong confidence in our approach. We are eagerly anticipating our inaugural orbital launch in mainland Europe from the SaxaVord Spaceport on British territory.’

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