Under a contract awarded in March of this year, POLARIS is manufacturing a scaled demonstrator of its Aurora spaceplane for the German Bundeswehr.
POLARIS has now received the operation license for the demonstrator “ATHENA”. The licensing process included a SORA (Specific Operations Risk Assessment) and the evaluation of the ConOps (Concept of Operations). The application was evaluated and approved by the Aviation Authority of the Federal State of Bremen (Landesluftfahrtbehörde), which is in charge of Bremen based companies. Support was also provided by the Federal Aviation Authority (Luftfahrtbundesamt), as well as the Bundeswehr. We would like to thank all involved parties for their support.
Unlike previous demonstrators, ATHENA required a comprehensive licensing process due to the much higher flight mass and the intended BVLOS flight operation (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight). To increase the safety level during an emergency, the vehicle is also equipped with a redundant flight termination system (FTS) and a rescue parachute.
The initial ConOps targets an 8-week flight testing window with multiple turbine-powered flights. Take-off and landing are planned to take place at an airport close to the German coast, with BVLOS flight testing over the sea.
After completion of the initial flight campaigns, ATHENA is scheduled to receive its rocket propulsion system. Since this will result in a major modification of vehicle and ConOps, a second SORA will be prepared and submitted.
We are looking forward to the first flights of ATHENA, providing the first step for future routine access to space from Germany and Central Europe!