London, 21 June 2023.- Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), a German launch service provider, has signed a binding term sheet with the French space agency CNES to offer its launch services from the Kourou Space Centre (CGS) in French Guiana. RFA will launch from the ELM-Diamant launch complex in 2025.
With access to this spaceport RFA will be able to offer customers all inclinations from equatorial to polar. This will expand RFA’s portfolio of orbits available to include low inclination orbits such as GTO, MEO, GEO, lunar and interplanetary mission profiles. This means that more flexible and precise servicing of all types of missions for Earth observation, connectivity, or entire constellations are possible. As part of CNES’ open tender process to open the Kourou Space Centre (CSG) to commercial launch service providers, RFA ONE will launch from CSG starting in 2025.
“By launching from Kourou, the European Spaceport, we can serve ESA and its member states as institutional customers for any mission profile they desire. Together with our successful upper stage hot fire test – a first in Europe – we have once again confirmed our technical and commercial leadership position in Europe,” said Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer at RFA. “Just before the final launch of Ariane 5, this collaboration is a clear commitment to the future of European spaceflight from Kourou. We are very proud to launch from the historic Diamant launch site, where European spaceflight began its long and successful history.”
Until now, the launchpad in Kourou has only been used by CNES for its Diamant rocket in the 1970s. RFA is one of the first NewSpace companies to be given the opportunity to use it. The new launchpad will be upgraded and equipped in the coming years with the aim of being used for launches from 2025.