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Aurora Spaceplane

Aurora was developed at the German Aerospace Center DLR in 2015-2018. The DLR spin-off POLARIS Raumflugzeuge continues Aurora development & commercialization.

Aurora is based on groundbreaking spaceplane research including concepts such as Saenger and Hopper. The basic approach - a horizontal take-off rocketplane - was identified as the most economic solution for future access to space within the comprehensive ESA FESTIP study. 

Aurora adopts and implements this approach via a highly optimized vehicle design and with utilizing latest structures and heat-shield technologies.

The first-generation vehicles are designed for fast, low-cost and low risk development to allow for quick commercialization. This is achieved by using off-the-shelf aviation and space hardware wherever possible, and by extensive flight-testing campaigns.

Reusability

  • At least 200 missions per vehicle
  • Minimization of space debris

Aircraft-like Operation

  • Take-off and landing on conventional runways, no launch-pad required
  • Unmatched flexibility and availability
  • Launch on-demand

Cost Efficiency

  • Reduction of spaceflight costs by factor of 3 now, factor 5-10 in future

Safety & Robustness

  • Unique safety level due to mission abort capability & redundant structures
  • No toxic fuels
  • No rocket debris crashing to ground
  • Resistant to adverse weather & environmental conditions

Scalability & Markets

  • Scalability of the design: configurations can be derived in different sizes
  • At least 5 different target markets