Home ENGINEERING Rocket-powered Dawn’s Mk-II Aurora Spaceplane Model

Rocket-powered Dawn’s Mk-II Aurora Spaceplane Model


Dawn Aerospace has achieved a significant milestone towards its mission to redefine access to space with reliable, rapidly reusable and sustainable space transport.We successfully flew the Mk-II Aurora under rocket power for the first time in March 2023.

source/image: Dawn Aerospace

The Mk-II Aurora is designed for aircraft-like operations and is capable of flying multiple times a day. Unlike traditional rockets, Dawn vehicles take off and land horizontally on a runway and do not require a dedicated launch pad. The flights aimed to validate key systems and capabilities, such as the rocket engine, rather than striving for maximum speed or altitude. Future tests will gradually increase speed and altitude in a ‘build-up’ approach.

During commercial operations, the Mk-II Aurora will fly to 100 km altitude and aims to become the first vehicle capable of such flights twice in a day, laying the foundation for a fully and rapidly reusable first-stage booster. Initial flights reached altitudes and speeds similar to those demonstrated in previous test flights under jet power, approximately 6,000 feet and 170 knots.


Upon the successful completion of the Mk-II Aurora program, Dawn Aerospace plans to develop the Mk-III, a two-stage orbital vehicle capable of carrying over 1 ton on a suborbital flight or delivering a 250 kg satellite to LEO with an expendable second stage.