Carmaker Porsche has entered a completely new kind of competition by investing in German rocket start-up Isa Aerospace, which aims to select stars like Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic in the sprint. Unlike its rivals, Isa is not backed by any millionaire owner and has yet to conduct a launch – but the capital provided by Porsche is expected to help the company improve its highly automated rocket manufacturing process.
Earlier this year, Isa went on its launch, starting spectrum production. Featuring 3D-printed material, the Spectrum is designed to carry payloads weighing less than a thousand kilograms (2,204 pounds), while its multi-ignition second-tier engines provide flexibility by providing satellites directly in their final orbit while navigating. The launcher uses Isar’s internal advanced Aquila engine, which runs on a combination of light hydrocarbons and liquid oxygen, which produces less pollution than ordinary fuel.
Jeff Bezos and Sir Richard Branson have both made big strides in the Billionaire Space Race over the past few weeks, Isar is currently not planning any manned spaceflight and is not planning to take dancefloor with other agencies to try to control space tourism.
Instead, it plans to compete to become a growing market partner for launching small and medium-sized satellites, which is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. In a statement, Isar announced that satellite technologies are becoming dependent on various industries, including the automotive and telecom sectors, “as well as smart farming applications and surveillance to tackle climate change.”
Yet, as Porsche noted in a statement, “the existing launch capabilities are not adequate or too expensive inflexible,” and therefore represent a major hurdle for many small companies willing to launch their own satellites. However, thanks to its automated production process, ISAR is “able to meet this demand in a more affordable and flexible way than established space companies,” Porsche’s statement explained.
Combining itself with Isar, Porsche hopes to get its hands on this highly useful space technology early on and so has joined other investors like HV Capital and Lombard Odyssey for $ 75 million injections in start-ups. The first launch of Spectrum is scheduled for the second half of 2022, with three to four more launches expected next year. In the end, ISAR expects to conduct about ten launches a year, allowing technology companies to launch their satellite constellations into space for a fraction of the current price.
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