8 July 2024

A Polish-engineered rocket has successfully reached space using an innovative eco-friendly fuel, heralding a significant breakthrough for the country’s aerospace sector, the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) has announced.

The rocket was developed thanks to the Łukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation.  On 3 July 2024 at 13:09 PM took place their most recent successful test. The rocket, launched from the Andøya Space Sub-Orbital in Norway, reached an altitude of 101 km.

The ILR-33 Bursztyn suborbital rocket is the result of several years of work by Polish scientists and a breakthrough for the Polish space industry and the space exploration sector.

Polish rocket ILR-33 BURSZTYN 2K ph: Łukasiewicz Institute of Aviation

“We are proud of the fact, that a project of creating Polish suborbital rocket, inaugurated of the late professor Piotr Wolański, in which hydrogen peroxide with a concentration of 98% was used as a rocket propellant, celebrates international success. Reaching an altitude of 101 km by ILR-33 AMBER 2K is a breakthrough event in the history of Polish science and the achievements of Polish engineers in the field of space technologies. With this result, we have proven that scientists from our Institute can find a niche, create and implement breakthrough technologies, and that they are pioneers in bringing elements of sustainable development to space”, said Dr. Eng. Paweł Stężycki, director of the Łukasiewicz – Institute of Aviation.

The ceiling of 101 km is the result of systematic improvements that the Institute’s engineers have implemented since previous rocket launches. AMBER 2K upgrades include enlarged solid rocket boosters, a main stage hybrid motor with extended operating duration and extensive launch infrastructure (WR-2 mobile suborbital rocket launcher). Additionally, the organization of flights was improved and adapted to the requirements of the foreign test site.

“Thanks to the tests in Norway, we have proven that the ILR-33 AMBER 2K rocket is a complete and mature technical solution. The consistent implementation of the AMBER program means that today we have qualified staff and research facilities necessary to develop complex space systems, not just components or subsystems. In Poland, it is possible to develop a launch vehicle that would allow carrying small satellites into low Earth orbit. Thus, Polish satellites could be launched using a domestic system, providing us with independent access to orbit. This is extremely important in terms of the growing role of satellite data in both civilian and military applications”, says Dr. Eng. Adam Okniński, director of the Space Technologies Center at Łukasiewicz – Institute of Aviation.

The rocket, moving at nearly 1.4 km/s, is expected to have numerous applications, including atmospheric research and launching scientific experiments to further the development of science, new technologies, and industrial advancements.

“With this project and the technologies used in it, we want to prove to the world that elements of sustainable, environmentally friendly transportation are possible in space,” Stężycki said, as cited by PAP.

According to a Łukasiewicz Institute of Aviation press release, the rocket has already secured a customer with Polish company Thorium Space expected to conduct research missions aboard ILR-33 Amber 2K flights between 2025 and 2027.

The success of the inaugural ILR-33 Amber 2K space shot could also be the first step toward Poland’s development of larger rockets.

“The planned tests of the rocket in space conditions are an important element in building Polish engineering competencies and developing Polish space rocket technologies,” director of the Łukasiewicz Institute of Aviation, Dr. Paweł Stężycki explained before Wednesday’s historic flight. “Especially since the ILR-33 Amber 2K is also a starting point for the development of advanced technologies for large space rockets, which are currently only available in a few countries in Europe.”


Łukasiewicz – Institute of Aviation, Polish Space Agency – https://ilot.lukasiewicz.gov.pl/en/historical-achievement-of-polish-engineers-polish-suborbital-rocket-ilr-33-amber-2k-reached-space/

PAP – https://www.pap.pl/