Prometheus: Testing of the Future LOX-Methane Engine Demonstrator Begins

Prometheus rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup Holding)
  • Prometheus is a very low cost and potentially reusable European engine demonstrator intended for use by Europe’s launchers by 2030
  • Testing of the 3D-printed gas generator is under way at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen, Germany
  • The engine’s Design Review began on 30 November at the Vernon and Ottobrunn sites and is scheduled to close in January 2019

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — Exactly one year after the signing of the Prometheus demonstrator development contract between the European Space Agency (ESA) and ArianeGroup, testing of the 3D-printed gas generator has started at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

Prometheus is a European demonstrator for a very low cost reusable engine operating on liquid oxygen (LOx) and methane. It is the precursor of the future engines for Europe’s launchers by 2030.

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DLR Developing Reusable Rocket Engine for Small Satellite Launcher

Rocket motor during hot fire test (Credit: DLR)
  • DLR researchers have developed a reusable rocket engine specifically for the launch of small satellites.
  • The rocket engine consists of two central components: a metal injector head manufactured by means of metal 3D printing and a ceramic combustion chamber.
  • Small satellites have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry.
  • Focus: space, small satellites, new manufacturing technologies, fibre ceramics

STUTTGART, Germany (DLR PR) — Whether alone or in a constellation, small satellites weighing from just a few kilograms (nanosatellites) up to several hundred kilograms (micro- and minisatellites) are becoming increasingly technologically sophisticated and have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry. In the coming years, hundreds of such small satellites will be carried into Earth orbit.

As part of the EU project SMILE (Small Innovative Launcher for Europe), researchers from the Institute of Structures and Design at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed a reusable rocket engine especially for launching such satellites, and have performed an initial series of successful trials on a test rig.
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Russia, India Negotiate on Human Spaceflight Cooperation

Translated from Russian using Google Translate

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On September 25, 2018, the delegation of the Roskosmos State Corporation headed by Dmitry Rogozin met with representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The main topics of negotiations between the two space organizations were: joint work within the framework of manned space programs, where the Russian side is ready to offer its significant achievements and partnership, as well as possible joint initiatives in the areas of satellite navigation.

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Pioneer Astronautics Selected for Two NASA SBIR Phase II Awards

pioneer_astronautics_logoBob Zubrin’s Pioneer Astronautics has been selected for two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards to continue development of a system to extract volatile elements from asteroids and a new rocket engine.

Pioneer’s Carbonaceous Asteroid Volatile Recovery (CAVoR) system “produces water and hydrogen-rich syngas for propellant production, life support consumables, and manufacturing from in-situ resources in support of advanced space exploration,” according to the project’s technical abstract.

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Russians Test Fire Reusable LOX-LNG Engine

Test of a reusable LOX-LNG engine. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The Russians conducted a hot firing last week on a new reusable rocket engine that is powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The test took place on Sept. 28 in Peresvet (Moscow region).

The rocket engine was designed and manufactured by KB Khimmash imeni A.M. Isayeva, which is a branch of GKNPTs Khrunichev. A Roscosmos press release describes the test as being carried out on a “double integration engine.”

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India Prepares Homegrown Cryogenic Engine for First Launch

India’s cryogenic engine set for integration with rocket
Business Standard

The indigenous cryogenic engine that would make India totally self-reliant in all aspects of space launch vehicle technology is set to be integrated with the indigenous Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

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Big Announcement from XCOR Next Week

XCOR Aerospace will be holding a press conference in Beverly Hills, California on Wednesday, March 26, to announce what Rand Simberg of Transterrestrial Musings will be “a significant milestone” in commercial spaceflight. Simberg says he knows what the announcement will be but has an non-disclosure agreement with the Mojave, Calif.-based rocket company. His blog is buzzing with speculation on what XCOR will announce.

Meanwhile, author Michael Belfiore has this to report over at his blog:

“A mysterious project has been underway on the XCOR shop floor behind a black curtain for some time now, and the company has been incredibly successful lately, with contracts and money rolling in faster than ever before. In fact, XCOR made Inc. magazine’s list of 500 fastest growing companies in America last year.

Are we about to witness a new private spaceship unveiled?”