POLARIS Receives First Bundeswehr Contract

This week, POLARIS was awarded a contract by the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) to investigate the application of the Aurora spaceplane for reconnaissance missions. The project RDRS (Rapid Deployable Reconnaissance System) is scheduled for a duration of 4 months and funded with approximately 250 000 Euros.

Project RDRS covers technical and operational characteristics of vehicle and mission, as well as regulatory and certification aspects. The project is supported by DLR Institute of Flight Guidance and BHO Legal, who bring in their unique experiences in the areas of air-/space-traffic management and regulatory matters.

As a special feature, the project will also investigate the potential of using aerospike rocket engines for the Aurora spaceplane in cooperation with Institute of Aerospace Engineering of the Technische Universität Dresden. Aerospike rocket engines promise significant performance increases compared to conventional engines. The focus of this part of the project is on preparation towards a reusable spaceplane flight demonstrator powered by an aerospike engine – the first ever in aerospace history.

POLARIS develops the reusable Aurora spaceplane, based on initial concepts formulated at DLR in 2015-2018. Aurora is designed for aircraft-like take-off and landing on conventional runways anywhere in the world, including Germany and Europe, and features global autonomous ferry flight capability for operation base relocation. The primary mission of the vehicle targets satellite launches in the 800-1000 kg payload class, allowing major launch cost reductions compared to conventional launchers, while fundamentally increasing flexibility, availability and safety. In addition, Aurora offers unique capabilities in addressing various commercial as well as defense-related suborbital/hypersonic mission scenarios, with a payload capacity of several tons.

The contract of the Bundeswehr is an important success for POLARIS, given that virtually all technological breakthroughs in spaceflight history were triggered directly or indirectly by the military. We are extremely pleased by the support of the Bundeswehr and look forward to demonstrating the unique potentials of the Aurora spaceplane in European and allied defense activities.