SpaceX may have a new rival in the works. Munich-based Isar Aerospace Technologies started production of its 'Spectrum' launcher today, and the plan is to see the rocket officially launch by the end of 2021.
Spectrum will be launching satellites of up to a ton into space using 3D-printed engines.
A 'European SpaceX'
Isar Aerospace's CEO, Daniel Metzler, who is actually only 28 years old, told Handelsblatt (in German), "We want to build a European SpaceX, a privately financed company to build space rockets." And that vision started today.
The German startup began production of its upcoming Spectrum launcher in part thanks to funding from Airbus and Susanne Klatten, among other funders.
In the startup's production hall in the south of Munich, you'll find three large 3D printers, all of which will be able to function simultaneously to develop three Spectrum vehicle launchers at the same time, per Handelsblatt report. Each of these will be 88 feet long (27 meters) and have the capability to transport their payloads to orbit in under eight seconds.
The plan is for Spectrum to be ready for launch before the end of 2021, which would make it the first space rocket to shuttle satellites into space, alongside ESA's 'Ariane' rocket.
Isar Aerospace will manufacture 80% of the rocket themselves using almost only technology from the area surrounding Munich. The startup will launch payloads into orbit for clients a few months after they place their order.
As per Metzler's words "You don't buy a rocket from us, you buy a satellite launch. The customer brings us the satellite, we take care of the rest."