Dawn Aerospace Looking to Develop Small Launch Vehicle

Dawn Aerospace Looking to Develop Small Launch Vehicle

In 2019, Dawn Aerospace built three flight-ready propulsion systems for CubeSats, and eight larger thrusters for microsatellites. The company is looking to develop 50 CubeSat thrusters and 100 microsat thrusters this year.

FREMONT, CA: Green propulsion startup Dawn Aerospace, which has been gaining traction in the smallsat market, is developing a small launch vehicle, using funds of its own. The startup has little over USD 1 million in sales and has raised over USD 2 million since its inception in 2017. New Zealand-based investment firm, Tuhua Ventures led the company's seed round in 2018. Based in New Zealand and Netherlands, Dawn Aerospace has scheduled its first propulsion system launch in March, on a D-Orbit CubeSat aboard a Vega rocket. Its second launch is planned for the second quarter of 2020 on an Indian PSLV on a CubeSat for Hiber, a Dutch Internet of Things startup. The company has contracts from the New Zealand Space Agency and the U.S. Air Force under its belt.

"The idea is to be able to commercialize something very early, to help fund future launcher development," said Joshua Rea, Business Development Executive at Dawn Aerospace. "People we sell propulsion to will likely be customers for launch in the long term." Dawn Aerospace is looking to commercialize the use of thrusters fueled by nitrous oxide and propene instead of hydrazine. The company's five-pound force thruster is manufactured without using components restricted by U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In 2019, Dawn Aerospace built three flight-ready propulsion systems for CubeSats, and eight larger thrusters for microsatellites. The company is looking to develop 50 CubeSat thrusters and 100 microsat thrusters this year. Currently, the company is using revenues from these sales to build a drone launched rocket system. The uncrewed space plane will be capable of flying above 100 kilometers, reaching speeds of four kilometers per second. Once the required altitude and speed is attained, an expendable two-stage rocket will be used to vault the payload into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

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