Rocket Lab presented the first 3D-printed batareyny engine for the carrier rocket
The New Zealand company Rocket Lab presented the first-ever rocket engine on the battery. Instead of expensive and difficult gas generators the Rutherford engine for the carrier rocket Electron uses small high-efficiency electromotors and lithium – polymeric batteries for a food of turbopumps. In the engine the details made on 3D the printer are also applied. It allowed to reduce expenses and to accelerate production.
As the New Zealand Herald newspaper writes, 18-meter carbon – the composit carrier rocket Electron makes about a third of the average size of ordinary rockets to which it will compete for the right of a conclusion of satellites to an orbit. The novelty is urged to reduce cost and to increase efficiency of space starts.
Electron will put into orbit satellites in the size no more compact refrigerator on height about 500 kilometers over Earth surface. The director of Rocket Lab Peter Beck declared that the first test start of the rocket will take place till the end of this year in New Zealand. Exact date of the first start will be declared soon.
Cost of a conclusion of the satellite forces of Electron makes about 6,6 million dollars. According to Bek, at other companies of the price can exceed 100 million dollars.
Rocket Lab argues that its engine is the first rocket engine with use of the 3D-printed details for the main components of system, among which – the engine chamber, an injector, pumps and the main fuel valves.
The company management says that the 3D-press allows to produce difficult and easy designs from such materials, as the titan and other alloys. It promotes reduction of time of assembly from several months to several days and to increase in availability of components.
Rocket Lab is not the first space company which has applied in the production technology of the three-dimensional press. Airbus already uses the details made by the same method in the A350 planes. However, according to Bek, Rocket Lab of the first widely applied the 3D-press to spacecraft manufacturing.
Commercial starts of Electron is planned to begin in 2016.