Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), one of three German rocket startups pushing to begin test launches next year, has signed a contract with Germany’s aerospace agency DLR to use of its engine test facility for static fire tests of its Helix engine.
RFA announced the deal at the Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Germany, Nov. 16, which will allow RFA to use the P2.4 test site in Lampoldshausen. DLR provides the basic infrastructure while RFA brings its own test stand and supporting infrastructure.
Test stands in Lampoldshausen have so far only been used by DLR, the European Space Agency and ArianeGroup.
The new test stand will add to RFA engine testing capacity already established in Esrange in northern Sweden, where the company has been conducting testing on the Helix engine for the RFA One launcher. Testing will continue in Sweden but the new development simplifies logistics and bureaucracy related to import and export rules. [emphasis mine]
The highlighted sentence is the news. The German government has decided to break the monopoly held by government related operations of these facilities, and open up their use to private independent commercial companies.
RFA says it already has a dozen customers, and hopes to begin commercial launches by ’24.