The German Aerospace Center DLR announced the winners of the microlauncher payload competition during the German SmallSat Conference (Kleinsatellitenkonferenz) in Belin on December 6th. DCUBED is one of the seven winners selected to fly on the maiden flight of RFA ONE in 2023.
Several start-ups are developing microlaunchers to secure access to space for the growing commercial satellite market. The German Space Agency DLR organized the microlauncher competition to strengthen commercial spaceflight capabilities within Germany. Rocket Factory Augsburg (Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) won the 2022 round of the DLR microlauncher competition with a prize value of €11 million with their three-stage rocket RFA ONE. The 30-m tall rocker can transport payloads up to 1350 kg to LEO. The maiden flight is scheduled for late 2023.
DCUBED’s PowerCube will fly on RFA ONE’s fully booked first flight into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km, alongside the other six winners of the payload competition. The flight will serve as an IOD mission for DCUBED’s deployable NanoSat 100W solar array that fits in 1U stowage volume. The technology development and the engineering model for the innovative solar array was supported by ESA ARTES Advanced Technology Programme and the flight model activity has already started with funding from Bavarian State.
The IOD mission of ARTICA CubeSat Deorbiting System and Separation Ring Mission (NPC Spacemind), Curium Two (Planetary Transportation Systems), multi-PocketQube mission ERMINAZ (AMSAT Deutschland e.V.), robotic arm SpaceDREAM (Kinetik Space) and the AllBertEinStein project (TU Munich) will accompany PowerCube on its way to orbit.
The IOD flight will allow PowerCube to demonstrate its capabilities and it will be a key step in DCUBED’s mission of enabling high-power SmallSats.