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Rocket Factory Augsburg Plans First Mission From Scotland’s SaxaVord Spaceport

By | January 12, 2023

RFA’s launchpad at SaxaVord Spaceport. Photo: RFA

German launcher in development Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) has signed a deal for its first mission late this year to lift off from the SaxaVord Spaceport on Scotland’s Shetland island. RFA will have exclusive access to Launch Pad Fredo for orbital launches, the companies announced Jan. 11. 

SaxaVord Spaceport is a commercial spaceport located at Lamba Ness in Unst, Shetland, the United Kingdom’s highest point of latitude. The site has also been chosen to host the UK Space Agency’s UK Pathfinder launch. The launch pad and launch stool were fully completed by the end of 2022.

These tests are expected to begin in mid-2023. The first launch with the RFA ONE rocket will be into a 500 km high Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). RFA had previously said its first orbital launch would be from the Andoya Spaceport in Norway.

“We are super excited to launch our first flight from SaxaVord. This partnership of privately financed companies enables the spirit and speed that we need, to be on top of the commercial small launch competition,” said Jörn Spurmann, RFA CCO. “The SaxaVord team was incredibly determined to build our launch pad and get the operations up and running. We are proud to be part of this historic event for the U.K.” 

SaxxaVord Spaceport said it will support RFA across the entire lifecycle of a launch, from facilitating testing, inspections, fueling and safety, to supplying MET weather data and access to its ground station network.