13 Dec, 2021

ESA Commercial Space Transportation Services Program: Isar Aerospace and German Space Agency at DLR announce payloads for first test flight of Spectrum launch vehicle

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  • Payloads selected for Spectrum’s maiden flight scheduled for end of 2022

  • Five institutions from Germany, Norway and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites to launch on the first test flight of Isar Aerospace's launch vehicle “Spectrum”

  • For the first time in Europe, the German government entrusts a privately financed European space company with the launch of institutional payloads

Munich, 13 December 2021 – Isar Aerospace, the leading and most well-funded private European launch service provider focusing on small and medium satellites, and the German Space Agency at DLR have announced the selection of the institutional payloads for the maiden flight of the "Spectrum" rocket planned for the end of 2022 as part of the microlauncher competition. Among the winners of the Announcement of Opportunity are five institutions from Germany, Norway, and Slovenia with a total of seven small satellites that will be used to demonstrate various technologies in space such as communication or weather data measurement.

Overview of the selected payload

  • Germany, DLR Responsive Space Competence Center (RSC³), Trauen

  • Germany, Technical University Berlin, Institute of Aerospace Engineering, Berlin

  • Germany, ZfT - Center for Telematics e.V., Würzburg

  • Norway, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

  • Slovenia, University of Maribor, Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications, Maribor

This endeavor between the German Space Agency at DLR and Isar Aerospace represents a first of a kind collaboration between a public institution and a private launch service provider in the European industry. With the microlauncher competition, the German government entrusts a privately financed European space company under the ESA C-STS program to transport institutional payloads into orbit for the first time. This is also a strong signal of support by the German government for the New Space industry in Europe and the sector as a key technology for the future.

“We are pleased to announce the selection of payloads for the first flight of Spectrum and thank the German Space Agency at DLR and the institutions for their trust. It is great to be part of this pioneering program and we are looking forward to further shaping the cooperation between the public and private sector in European spaceflight. This collaboration will further contribute to the development of research and technology in space and will help growing the overall private space ecosystem in Europe,” says Daniel Metzler, CEO of Isar Aerospace.

With the microlauncher program, DLR and ESA set up a program to drive forward the commercialization of European spaceflight and to set it up autonomously and competitively, especially in the field of smaller payloads. Isar Aerospace won the first round of the German microlauncher competition in April 2021 for which it received 11 million euros towards the launch of institutional payloads on the first two flights.

"With the microlauncher competition and the payload selection for Isar Aerospace’s first flight, we are taking another concrete step in the commercialization of European spaceflight. Isar Aerospace's Spectrum rocket symbolizes the dynamic development of the European space industry in recent years and in the future," adds Dr. Walther Pelzer, Executive Board member of the DLR and Head of the German Space Agency at DLR.

The small satellites with a total weight of approx. 100 kg including the deployers will be transported into a polar orbit from Andøya in Norway.

For this purpose, Exolaunch, a global leader for rideshare launch, deployment, in-space transportation, and integration services for the NewSpace industry, will provide Isar Aerospace with integration services and with the small satellite deployer "EXOpod", which will be used to deploy the satellites to their final orbits. Jeanne Medvedeva, VP of Launch Services at Exolaunch adds: “Our advanced separation systems have enabled reliable launch and deployment for nearly over 170 small satellites, and together with Isar Aerospace we can bring an end-to-end, 100% made in Germany launch service. We are happy to partner with Isar Aerospace, as we see the company becoming an important player in the European launch landscape.”

Another deployer for the satellites, a deployment command sequencer and integration support services for the first flight of Spectrum will be provided by ISISPACE, a company that designs and delivers small satellite platforms for single missions and constellations. “We are very pleased to see the start of a long-term cooperation between ISISPACE and Isar Aerospace. With our proven launch interface equipment and ISILAUNCH's extensive experience in small satellite launch services we are glad to support Isar Aerospace in disrupting the European small launch capabilities with their innovative new launch vehicle”, said ISISPACE/ISILAUNCH Director, Abe Bonnema.

About Isar Aerospace

Isar Aerospace, based in Ottobrunn/Munich, develops and builds launch vehicles for transporting small and medium-sized satellites as well as satellite constellations into Earth’s orbit. The company was founded in 2018 by Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann, and Markus Brandl. Since then, it has grown to more than 200 employees from more than 40 nations with many years of hands-on rocket know-how as well as experience within other high-tech industries. The company is privately financed by former SpaceX VP Bulent Altan as well as leading investors including Airbus Ventures, Apeiron, Earlybird, HV Capital, Lakestar, Lombard Odier, Porsche SE, UVC Partners, and Vsquared Ventures.

More information via: https://www.isaraerospace.com/


About the German Space Agency at DLR

The DLR is the national research center of the Federal Republic of Germany for Aerospace. The German Space Agency, based at DLR in Bonn, implements the Federal Government's space strategy. It integrates Germany's space activities at national and European level and represents German space interests worldwide on behalf of the Federal Government. Its tasks include in particular the conception and implementation of the national space program and the management of German contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU's Horizon Europe research framework program. In addition, the German Space Agency at DLR works closely with the EU space agency EUSPA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).

About Exolaunch

Exolaunch (Germany, USA) is a global leader in rideshare launch, deployment, in-space transportation, and integration services for the NewSpace industry. With a decade of flight heritage and 170 satellites launched on 13 missions across world known launch vehicles, Exolaunch has an industry insight it can leverage to develop one-stop-shop solutions tailored towards meeting customer needs and addressing market trends. Exolaunch executes launch contracts for the NewSpace leaders, the world’s most innovative start-ups, research institutions, government organizations, and space agencies. The company manufactures advanced lightweight and flight-proven separation systems named CarboNIX to deliver the best-in-class integration and deployment services for small satellites. Exolaunch is also developing a line of environmentally conscious space tugs named Reliant to provide last-mile delivery services and remove space debris reliably. Exolaunch is committed to making space accessible for everyone and to promoting safe, sustainable, and responsible use of space.



ISILAUNCH (Innovative Space Logistics) has been carrying out 36 successful launch campaigns for small satellite and it is one of the leading players in the small satellite launch business. Founded in 2007 as a subsidiary of ISISPACE, ISILAUNCH has executed or supported many launch campaigns on various launch vehicles, successfully sending over 500 satellites into orbit.

ISILAUNCH mission is to make the launch of your small satellite as simple and ‘easy’ as possible for you. A complete package deal can be offered, taking care of all aspects of the launch, or also a solution tailored to your specific needs. ISILAUNCH offers regular launch opportunities for small spacecraft, to low earth orbit or beyond on a variety of different launch vehicles. Special orbit types and specific launch periods may be available on request.


Press contact Isar Aerospace

Tina Schmitt


Press contact German Space Agency at DLR

Elisabeth Mittelbach

Team Lead Communications

M +49-172-2003338

Press contact Exolaunch

Dr. Olga Stelmakh-Drescher



Abe Bonnema

M +31 6 4120 6289


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