Aerospike Rocket Engine

The realization of engineering dreams from the 1960s thanks to advanced manufacturing and non-destructive inspection technologies such as Additive Manufacturing and Computed Tomography
The market with small satellites will boom in the coming years. The United Kingdom is planning the first spaceport on European soil in the north of Scotland, and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) also supports a European spaceport. From there, small to medium-sized launchers will carry research instruments and small satellites into space. These microlaunchers are designed for a payload of up to 350 kg. An efficient way of propelling these microlaunchers is with so-called aerospike engines. Aerospike rocket engines have significant advantages compared to conventional engines such as a mass saving potential of 30 %, a possible control of altitude and path of the launcher through secondary injection and foremost an automatic adaption of the thrust jet in different pressure environments. The manufacturing of the aerospike has been a challenge since the first designs emerged in the 1960s and only thanks to additive manufacturing (AM) processes the realization of that dream is now within reach. The Fraunhofer Institute for Materials and Beam Technology IWS and the Institute of Aerospace Engineering (ILR) at the Technical University of Dresden have started an ongoing collaboration in 2016 to design, manufacture and test aerospikes. Several design iterations were made to prove the geometrical capabilities and in 2019/2020 the first additively manufactured aerospike engine was hot-gas fire tested at a test site of the Technical University of Dresden to prove the functionality of design and manufacturing process.


Read the full article just published in Aerospace Testing International Annual Showcase 2022 and learn how Yxlon Computed Tomography supported the development of this pioneering additively manufactured aerospace component by Fraunhofer IWS.
Click here to read the article.

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Gina Naujokat