The room is overcrowded, in the sky like on paper. After the success of SpaceX, many companies are preparing their own private orbiting service. In Europe, ESA (European Space Agency) works mainly with Arianespace, owned by Airbus and Safran. But in the pipes a new flagship is preparing. He wants to compete with SpaceX while developing in a parallel niche.
The name of the company in question is Isar Aerospace. His rocket project: “Spectrum”. The “First rocket of private construction” produced in Germany who wants “Take part in the commercial space race”as reported by our colleagues Financial Times in October. In their plans to launch satellites into near-earth orbit, the 27-meter-high rocket would offer a maximum payload of one ton.
A multi-stage plan for Airbus
So far, Airbus’ aerospace activity has been focused on Arianespace, which it owns like Safran. Since December, however, the pan-European company has been participating in the Isar Aerospace series A round table. A company that costs a modest 17 million euros, but could appear as the genesis of the participation and interest of Airbus for “Spectrum”.
As with Arianespace, the young startup Isar, which was born in 2018, shouldn’t be swallowed up so quickly. At the same time, Airbus signed a very important contract with the company promising to integrate it “The global portfolio of innovative launch systems”. With this promise, Airbus will continue to finance Isar Aerospace’s activities in the coming months until a possible acquisition.
Airbus, soon both feet in space
In the Guyanese space center where the Ariane rockets are launched, Airbus is co-owner of the Paris-based ArianeGroup, which itself owns Arianespace, the origin of the contracts for the launch of satellites on the Ariane and Vega launch vehicles. The state owned shares in the company until 2015, which it then sold to Airbus and Safran. A project under the Hollande government that aimed in particular to return the development of Ariane 6 to industrialists who are currently in turbulent times.
In the space race against SpaceX and NASA, Airbus’ plan to fund Isar Aerospace, a startup that competes with ArianeGroup, could seem misleading.
In reality, however, the two activities would not interfere with each other. Isar Aerospace is part of a global trend dominated by SpaceX and is developing a solution for launching small satellites. The clientele there is very different from that of the large contracts with Ariane. One way to get your second foot into space.
The main disadvantage of Isar Aerospace is currently the delay compared to its competitors. One of the currently most famous, Rocket Lab, exceeded ten launches when Isar had not yet developed its rocket.
In order to counteract the New Zealand company, it has to use its plans for a rocket that will be placed in an intermediate niche for its friends: From the top of its 27 meters and its 1000 kg payload, its positioning on 500 kg satellites is lower. Right now, his speakers insist on his on-board technologies like the two stages and the jet engines – more numerous and more precise for orbit.