German rocket startup bags €30M as it eyes takeoff this year

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While the US and China have dominated the space sector for decades, Europe is carving out a niche for itself: small satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO). 

One of the most promising startups in this space is Germany’s Rocket Factory Augsburg, which has just raised €30m from KKR, an American investment firm.  

The cash injection will facilitate RFA’s upcoming launch test at the end of this year and help complete its launch pad at SaxaVord Spaceport in Scotland.

SaxaVord Spaceport is a planned spaceport to be located on the Lamba Ness peninsula on Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly point in the UK.

In January 2023, Rocket Factory Augsburg signed a multi-year launch agreement which gives the company exclusive access to the northernmost launch pad of the spaceport. 

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The startup has also signed an agreement with the French Space Agency to build a dedicated launch pad at the Guiana Space Center (GSC) in French Guiana, with launches commencing in 2025.

An image of the SaxaVord Spaceport under construction in Shetland