The German space agency DLR started taking applications for the institutional payloads to launch aboard a duo of Isar Aerospace Spectrum missions, which would be provided at no cost to the applicants.
In May, Isar Aerospace won a DLR microlauncher competition in Munich-based launch firm, defeating competitors HyImpulse Technologies and Rocket Factory Augsburg. The winning company, Isar Aerospace, will be expected to deploy institutional payloads on two demonstration flights of its Spectrum rocket, which will take place in 2022 and 2023, as a condition of obtaining the 11-million-euro ($13 million) prize.
According to DLR, applications from the European institutional clients interested in securing a position aboard the 2 Spectrum missions began being accepted on August 31. Applicants must be representatives of national governments, agencies, universities, public institutions, or public research centers from countries that are members of the European Union or the European Space Agency. The cargo must be no more than 150 kilograms in weight, and the orbit must be feasible from Norway’s Andya Spaceport, among other requirements.
There is no predefined restriction to the number of payloads that DLR could choose from to launch the mission. With the exception of the cumulative weight of the payloads, there are no restrictions on what can be carried. All regular launch services provided by Isar Aerospace are going to be provided at no cost to the payloads that have been selected. Payload adaptors or dispensers, as well as any other non-standard launch requirements, shall be the responsibility of the institutions in question.
It is necessary to submit an application by October 31. The payloads will be chosen by the German Aerospace Center in conjunction with the European Space Agency. Even though Isar Aerospace will not be involved in choosing the payloads that will be deployed aboard the demonstration missions, the company will evaluate the technical feasibility of each applicant.
All institutional payloads selected by DLR will be launched into low Earth orbit aboard the Isar Aerospace Spectrum rockets, the 2-stage launch vehicle propelled by 9 first-stage engines and capable of delivering payloads of up to 1,000 kg to LEO in a single flight.
Isar Aerospace is presently in the midst of a critical stage in its preparations for the launch of Spectrum. A chief commercial officer of Isar Aerospace, Stella Guillen, told SpaceNews that the company would undergo “structural testing, fairing testing, and engine testing” during the next few months as part of its development process.
The launch of Spectrum is currently scheduled to take place in the second half of 2022. That depends on whether or not the launch pad being constructed in Norway by the Andya Space Research Institute is going to be completely operational in time for the mission to begin.