Dawn Aerospace (Dawn) and Colorado Air and Space Port (CASP) have entered into an MOU, which lays out a series of future interactions that are mutually expected to occur between the two entities, but are not legally binding. Future actions include Dawn establishing a presence at CASP, working with CASP to create a relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and, eventually, conducting test flights and spaceplane launches.
“In order to provide unprecedented access to space, we’ve pursued technologies that will operate much like a fleet of aircraft – taking off and landing at airports globally,” said James Powell, Dawn Co-founder. “We’re pleased to work with the supportive Adams County Board to bring our rocket-powered suborbital plane, and longer-term our orbital spaceplane, to Colorado.”
In Dec. 2020 Dawn was granted an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority to fly from a conventional airport. Dawn’s Mk-II Aurora is their latest spaceplane iteration. Mk-III Aurora, a two-stage orbital system, is currently in development.
Alongside the testing and development ongoing on the company’s spaceplanes, Dawn provides in-space satellite propulsion to its customers globally. Dawn has successfully seen eight of it’s in-space propulsion units launched in 2021 on Vega, Soyuz, and SpaceX vehicles.
The company’s spaceplane division is interested in expanding business operations to include Colorado Air and Space Port in Adams County.
“The Adams County Board looks forward to creating this new partnership with Dawn Aerospace and eventually having them operate at Colorado Air and Space Port,” said Eva J. Henry, Adams County Commissioner and Board Chair. “This partnership will bring a multitude of innovative opportunities for all involved, and we can’t wait to see what comes next from this impressive company.”
Dawn Aerospace was awarded the 2020 Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year at the 2020 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards for developing technology to access space in a more scalable and sustainable way than is currently possible with traditional rockets.
“The amount of interest in Colorado Air and Space Port from international and domestic aerospace companies over the past three years has been amazing,” said Raymond Gonzales, Adams County Manager. “This agreement with a truly innovative company like Dawn Aerospace is an exciting development as we continue to increase our aerospace partnerships while also expanding our general aviation activity at CASP.”
“Dawn Aerospace has successfully worked with a number of European countries for the launch of their propulsion units, and we are thrilled this company will be establishing a presence with us,” said Dave Ruppel, Colorado Air and Space Port Director. “Dawn Aerospace is a leader in the industry. Having a spaceplane that can make multiple suborbital trips a day with the same vehicle, take off and land from a conventional airport, and uses green propellants will help drive the industry to create more proficient space vehicles.”
To learn more about Dawn Aerospace visit their website. View the MOU here. You can watch a recap of the event on the county’s YouTube channel.