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German space tech Rocket Factory Augsburg secures €30M investment for its microlauncher

Image credit/RFA

In a significant move that underscores the rising demand for access to space, German space tech Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), a cost-effective and flexible launch service provider, has announced a successful €30 million investment from KKR, a prominent global investment firm that has previously invested in GetYourGuide. This strategic investment will further empower RFA to improve space access and remove cost and logistical barriers for its customers.

A vote of confidence in RFA’s pioneering approach

KKR’s investment follows RFA’s recent milestone achievement – the successful completion of its upper stage hot fire test in May 2023. This test marked a significant accomplishment for RFA as the first of its kind in Europe, reflecting the company’s pioneering spirit and technical ability.

KKR Joins forces with existing investor OHB

The investment from KKR solidifies its role as a leading investor in RFA, siding with the existing strategic investor, OHB. This alliance not only brings together diverse expertise but also reaffirms the faith that leading in space-tech investors have in RFA’s mission. The partnership with KKR, renowned for its global network, financial resources, and industrial proficiency, promises to catapult RFA’s journey towards its much-anticipated inaugural launch in Q2 2024.

Empowering RFA’s vision for cost-effective space access

As the demand for cost-effective and adaptable launch services continues to surge worldwide, RFA’s unique approach comes to the forefront. With a steadfast focus on providing reliable and cost-efficient solutions, RFA is primed to capitalise on this burgeoning market. The RFA ONE micro launcher, designed to transport payloads of up to 1,300 kg into low Earth orbits and beyond, embodies the company’s commitment to democratising space access and reducing launch costs.

CEO Stefan Tweraser’s vision

Stefan Tweraser, CEO of RFA, expressed his enthusiasm for the future: “We aim to provide cost-effective access to space and data-generating business models in space for monitoring, connecting, and protecting our planet. This new financing reflects confidence in RFA and validates our cost-efficient approach and technical achievements. Partnering with KKR as a long-term investor makes us proud – their financial resources, global network, and industrial expertise will accelerate our mission, and support RFA towards our first launch next year and beyond.”

A glimpse into RFA’s journey

Rocket Factory Augsburg AG was founded in 2018 with a clear mission – enabling data-generating business models in space to enhance our understanding and management of planet Earth. The company’s vision revolves around delivering launch services of up to 1,300 kg payloads into low Earth orbits and beyond on a weekly basis, all while maintaining competitive pricing. RFA’s innovative RFA ONE launch service encompasses a customer-focused approach, precise in-orbit delivery, and mission flexibility through its Redshift OTV. These qualities, combined with staged combustion technology, low-cost stainless-steel structures, and industrial components, position RFA as a potential lead player in the industry.

A bright future ahead

KKR’s investment is set to propel RFA’s integrated first stage test and complete the SaxaVord Spaceport launch pad in Scotland, laying the foundation for the RFA ONE micro launcher’s debut. The inaugural flight, scheduled for Q2 2024, is poised to mark another milestone in RFA’s journey.

Christian Ollig, Partner and Head of the DACH region at KKR, shared his excitement about supporting RFA’s vision: “KKR is excited to support RFA in its efforts to revolutionise access to space, which is crucial for emerging technologies that will shape our future. The team’s exceptional track record of achieving technical milestones and their unwavering focus on cost leadership are precisely the right strategy for future success in the global marketplace. We look forward to supporting RFA on its growth path.”

KKR’s role in the investment

KKR’s role in the investment comes from its newest European private equity fund, KKR European Fund VI. The fund’s patient and disciplined investment approach aligns seamlessly with RFA’s goals and aspirations.

Rocket Factory Augsburg AG’s journey to democratise space access and provide cost-effective launch services has received a substantial boost through its partnership with KKR. This investment underscores the confidence in RFA’s technical achievements and its potential to reshape the space industry. As RFA gears up for its 2024 launch, the alliance with KKR promises to propel the company’s mission forward, ushering in a new era of convenient space access.

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