Skyrora Tests New 3D Printed 70KN Rocket Engine/ Source: 3D printing Industry
Skyrora, a private rocket maker in Edinburgh, has started long-term testing its 3D-printed 70kN rocket engine to validate the upgraded design. Reportedly saving 66% in manufacturing time and 20% in expenses, the new rocket engines were 3D printed using their Skyprint 2 3D printers.
The first commercial orbital launch by the business will employ the new engine design, which includes a more efficient cooling chamber. This will maximize cooling efficiency, which in turn will increase the engine’s service life.
Skyrora’s contract with the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support Programme, better known as Boost!, relies heavily on the results of these tests.
This summer, testing will continue at Skyrora’s Midlothian test site, the largest of its type in the UK, under the watchful eyes of the company’s team of specialists. By safeguarding supply chains and expanding the UK space industry, Skyrora’s initiative is crucial in the ongoing efforts to re-shore industry in the UK and Europe.
“With our purpose-built rocket manufacturing and testing facilities in Scotland, we are proud to be localizing as much of the launch value chain as possible,” said Volodymyr Levykin, CEO and Founder of Skyrora. To quote Skyrora, “the new engine technology developed by Skyrora’s engineers and the commitment to a sustainable design are testaments to the innovation taking place in the UK space sector.”
Testing Skyrora updated 70kN rocket engine
Each engine test will last 250 seconds, the same as a genuine trip to orbit. When evaluating a new engine, engineers will look at a number of factors, such as fuel efficiency and emissions.
A complete cycle of data analysis, design modifications, and production for a test unit should be expected to take around three weeks. Standard pressure and thrust within the chamber, with no malfunctioning components, will indicate a successful test.
After passing all necessary inspections and qualifications, the revised 70kN will be the first commercial rocket engine to utilise a closed-cycle combustion system powered by a mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and Kerosene. Due to their intricacy, such engines have not been widely employed in the past. However, the increased efficiency of the engine is attributed in large part to the greater specific impulse produced by the Skyrora design.
Dr. Jack James Marlow, Head of Engineering at Skyrora, recently remarked, “We’re coming very close to finalising our engine qualification program after a long journey of technical progress, which will be a massive success for the team.”
With this achievement, Marlow explained, “we will have qualified one of the main subsystems of our orbital launch vehicle to the correct standards for commercial operations.”
Scaling and commercializing UK-based space flight
Skyrora’s efficient commercial orbital launch is “one step closer” because to the new 3D printed engine models, according to Levykin.
The improved engine design will be an integral part of Skyrora’s XL orbital vehicle’s first and second stages thanks to funding from the European Space Agency’s Boost! project.
The Skyprint 2 machine, materials, and machining technique will be qualified through a joint effort between Skyrora and the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland (NIMIS). These approvals open the door for third-party commercial usage of Skyprint 2, expanding the company’s reach into a new space industry.
Rocket firm Skyrora starts tests on 3D-printed engine/ Source: BBC
According to Jorgen Bru, Commercial Services Manager at the European Space Agency, “Skyrora is making important progress towards the 70kN engine qualification,” which is one of the primary goals of the pre-commercial launch service development activities sponsored by ESA’s Boost! Programme. According to ESA, “ESA is continuing to support Skyrora along the way to offer new commercial launch services for the benefit of a competitive space sector in Europe.”
It asserts it can ramp up manufacturing once it receives the necessary certifications. After the engine qualification project is finished, the business intends to produce several production engines to test the whole first stage of Skyrora XL.
This is the last round of tests before the demonstration launch into space. Tests of the third and second stages of Skyrora XL, both of which went well, set the ground for this complete stage test in 2022. A larger second-stage test has not been undertaken in the UK since the 1970s, when it was conducted last year.
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