The German Armed Forces’s turbojet-powered area plane demonstrator “Athena” accomplished its preliminary flight checks in the course of the autumn of 2022. The plane is 3.5 meters lengthy, with a mass of 120 kilograms. It’s powered by 4 turbojets and may attain a prime velocity of Mach 0.4 (493 kilometers per hour). The Athena constructed by the Bremen-based startup Polaris Raumflugzeuge GmbH on behalf of the German Armed Forces. The corporate reported that the primary take a look at flight was carried out from the airport of Peenemünde inside restricted airspace over the adjoining waters of the Baltic Sea on November 8, 2022. The demonstrator flew over a distance of about 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Athena options past visible line of sight (BVLOS) telemetry and semi-automated flight management programs, and is designed for the later integration of a liquid-fuel rocket engine. Attributable to its larger mass, efficiency and BVLOS functionality, the automobile was required to fulfil a complete regulatory framework, together with devoted automobile operation license, restricted airspace implementation, long-range radio/telemetry licenses, environmental evaluation and a particular insurance coverage. For emergency circumstances, ATHENA can also be outfitted with a redundant flight termination system (FTS).


ATHENA in a former MIG-23 shelter at Peenemünde Airport
ATHENA in a former MIG-23 shelter at Peenemünde Airport

Athena is the third demonstrator constructed by Polaris. The corporate’s first plane, Stella, accomplished a profitable flight in April 2020. In July 2021, the German Protection Ministry awarded the Bremen-based startup a €250,000 contract to check the appliance of its future manufacturing spaceplane, known as Aurora, for reconnaissance missions. Aurora is predicted to characteristic a rocket engine and attain hypersonic velocity. In collaboration with the Institute of Aerospace Engineering of the Technische Universität Dresden, Polaris will examine the potential of becoming the Aurora with aerospike nozzles that use 25-30% much less gas at low altitudes, making them an ideal answer for single-stage orbital launchers.

The German aerospace start-up POLARIS Raumflugzeuge GmbH is creating a revolutionary reusable area launch and hypersonic transport system that operates like an plane. Based mostly on greater than 30 years of German and European spaceplane analysis, the event of the spaceplane AURORA started on the German Aerospace Middle DLR. Aurora combines plane and rocket launcher applied sciences with a singular automobile design, and gives a game-changing financial viability in addition to opening the door for routine low-cost and secure entry to area. With a purpose to validate the know-how and speed up the spaceplane improvement, POLARIS has been creating a sequence of scaled flight demonstrators.

Flight preparation on the runway
Flight preparation of ATHENA on the runway.