Brother act backed by $3million

Two Kiwi brothers are behind a New Zealand and Netherlands-based aerospace company looking to revolutionise the aerospace industry.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced in November a $3million investment in the development of Dawn Aerospace’s environmentally friendly satellite propulsion technology, aimed at displacing a toxic fuel, hydrazine.

Wellington-born Dawn Aerospace general manager James Powell grew up in the Waikato before studying mechanical engineering at the University of Canterbury.

Dawn Aerospace's Mk-1 Spaceplane. The startup says its Mk-2 will be 20 times the weight and have...
Dawn Aerospace's Mk-1 Spaceplane. The startup says its Mk-2 will be 20 times the weight and have a higher performance engine that will allow it to reach low Earth orbit. Photo: Supplied.

He began his career focused on aircraft and worked at an aircraft design consultancy based in Auckland before his brother, Dawn Aerospace chief technical officer Stefan Powell, who studied aerospace engineering, introduced him to the new aerospace company.

"He started talking to me about Dawn — and that there were some good ways we could combine his rocket knowledge along with the other founders of Dawn," James Powell said.

"That’s kind of how we brought together the rocket and the aircraft side of things."


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