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CAZENEUVE Optimax 360 Lathe
This CAZENEUVE Optimax 360 Lathe was manufactured in the year 2019 in France. It is equipped with a
This CAZENEUVE Optimax 360 Lathe was manufactured in the year 2019 in France. It is equipped with a ...

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Advanced Engineering 2022 Manufacturing Indonesia 2022 TIMTOS 2023 MACH 2024

Launcher achieves full thrust in 3-D printed rocket engine test

Posted on 29 Apr 2022 and read 882 times
Launcher achieves full thrust in 3-D printed rocket engine testLauncher E-2 thrust chamber assembly on its test stand at NASA Stennis Space Center. Photo: Launcher/John Kraus Photography

US-based Launcher’s 3-D printed E-2 liquid rocket engine successfully demonstrated nominal thrust, pressure and oxidiser/fuel mixture ratio for the first time in a test fire at the NASA Stennis Space Center, which took place last week.

E-2 is a closed cycle 3-D printed, high-performance liquid rocket engine in development for the Launcher Light launch vehicle which is scheduled to launch in 2024. A single E-2 engine will boost Launcher Light to low Earth orbit with 150kg of payload.

Data from the successful test fire of the E-2 engine showed that the engine had 10 metric tons of thrust, 100 bar of combustion pressure and the highest performance 2.62 propellant mixture ratio for LOX/Kerosene at 100 bar of pressure.

E-2’s chamber is uniquely liquid-oxygen cooled and 3-D printed in copper alloy in a single piece. It also uses industrial supply chain copper chromium zirconium alloy (CuCrZr), reducing costs and supply chain constraints compared to aerospace-grade copper alloy typically used in 3-D printed combustion chambers.

Launcher is the first small-launch company to use 3-D printed copper alloy, and leads in small launch 3-D printed technology with its development of the first large format (100 x 45 x 45cm) custom 3-D printer in partnership with additive manufacturing specialist AMCM. Launcher’s single-part copper alloy combustion chamber is produced on an AMCM M4K 3-D printer.

In addition, E-2’s ‘state of the art’ co-axial injector is 3-D printed on a Velo3D Sapphire. These technologies enable higher performance which translates into more payload per rocket and lower prices for Launcher customers.

Demonstrating its reusability, the chamber was in perfect condition after 40sec of total test fire time. As a next step, Launcher tests again in early May with the same chamber and injector, lightly reworked to remove all film cooling — which increases performance.

In March 2022, Launcher successfully tested E-2’s turbine and liquid-oxygen pump in boost mode at 130% nominal flow. Launcher expects to demonstrate a full duration, 3min test with the E-2 integrated turbopump in closed cycle configuration by the end of 2022.