3-D printed thrust-chamber assembly passes test

Posted on 22 Mar 2020 and read 323 times
3-D printed thrust-chamber assembly passes testThe 3-D printed thrust-chamber assembly (TCA) of the methane-fuelled M10 rocket engine has passed its first series of hot firing tests; this engine will power the upper stage of Vega rockets from 2025 (www.esa.int).

Giorgio Tumino, who manages ESA’s Vega and Space Rider development programmes, said: “These test results are encouraging, confirming that our propulsion teams are right on track.”

The M10, which is designed to increase the competitiveness of European small launchers, is restartable; it uses a system of smart pressure control that improves fuel management and offers ‘mission flexibility’.

Avio in Italy built this TCA in two parts via additive layer-by-layer manufacturing (ALM) using metal alloys, then welded the two parts together.

During the test programme, the TCA was fired 19 times (for a total of 450sec) at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in the USA.

By comparing this data with the results from previous models, engineers will better understand the engine behaviour and the performance of the up-scaled model that will follow.

The hot firing of the first development model of the complete M10 engine will be carried out at the end of the year.

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