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Dawn Aerospace: Transforming space transportation

This article was published on Dec 13, 2023, 9:03 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Space junk, carbon emissions and ease of access are all causes for concern in the aerospace industry. Dawn Aerospace, recipients of the Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer grant, wants to enable the next generation of space users by providing more sustainable and scalable ways to access and move around in orbit. They believe this access, in the form of their transportation network, will fundamentally change what’s possible from space.

What's in this article

    Who are Dawn Aerospace?

    Founded in 2017, Dawn Aerospace is a space transportation company, building a sustainable end-to-end network to transport hardware from Earth to space. They’re a leading supplier of turnkey, green-propulsion systems for various classes of satellites. Their systems utilise safe, accessible propellants and have flown on Falcon 9, Vega and Soyuz rockets, worldwide. Dawn Aerospace is headquartered in Aotearoa New Zealand, with operations in the Netherlands, the United States and soon France, with customers across those countries and many more.

    Ārohia Innovation Trailblazer recipient banner

    Dawn Aerospace’s benefits to the innovation ecosystem

    Dawn Aerospace’s unique vehicles and technologies creates a platform for New Zealand’s academic, government and commercial enterprises to physically launch their own innovations into orbit. It has the potential to create new engineering and manufacturing opportunities, as part of a new supply chain.  This launch platform, combined with their in-orbit propulsion technology, creates entirely new product and service categories in Aotearoa.

    As you’d expect with the precision engineering of space flight, a great deal of knowledge is being generated by Dawn Aerospace and being shared with fellow aerospace organisations, both nationally and internationally.

    What the panel had to say about Dawn Aerospace:

    Dawn Aerospace’s application was an exemplar of an Innovation Trailblazer. Their groundbreaking innovations are positioned to redefine the landscape of space launch and in-orbit mobility.

    Their submission addressed all aspects of the assessment criteria with clear and compelling explanations. Of particular note, was the use of language and not being afraid to explain complex things in a simple way. The pitch itself added more context to the application, particularly in relation to the benefits to the innovation ecosystem.

    Dawn Aerospace are truly leading the way for other innovators in the ecosystem, not just in their technical capability but their passion to support other innovators and the industry as a whole.

    How Dawn Aerospace will be investing their grant

    Dawn Aerospace is building an Earth-to-space and space-to-everywhere else transportation network, with a very long-term technology roadmap. In order to proliferate new propulsion systems, the Ārohia Full Grant funding will be used to support the launch of a two-stage to-orbit, reusable spaceplane as well as in-orbit propulsion technology. 

    We are thrilled to be recognised as an Arohia Innovation Trailblazer. We believe the next era of human prosperity will be driven by the space economy and the many things we can do from space to improve life on Earth. Our mission is to enable this innovation in New Zealand and worldwide by providing sustainable, and scalable ways for the industry to access and move around in space. This support from Callaghan will go a long way in helping us bring our space transportation network to market, and we’re excited to see what the industry will do with it.”

    Stefan Powell, Dawn Aerospace Co-founder, CEO and CTO

    Dawn Aerospace team

    Dawn Aerospace

    Founded: 2018

    Sector/industry: HighTech products


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