An American private aerospace company, Launcher, has received $1.5M in funds from the U.S. Air Force to carry out a full-scale test for a liquid rocket engine in 2020. The newly developed E-2 rocket engine features a copper alloy 3D printed combustion chamber. The engine is designed to deliver a small satellite into low Earth orbit.
Produced by AMCM, an EOS Group company, it is the largest liquid-fuel rocket engine combustion chamber ever 3D printed in a single piece. The chamber is 34in (86cm) tall with an exit nozzle diameter of 16in (41cm).
Launcher says its entire 3D-printed engine is the most efficient in its sector of the private space launch market. The purpose of its rocket is to carry more payload (up to 773 kg) than any other rocket nearly its size.
AMCM engineers modify and enhance current EOS systems to meet customer-specific requirements, from new laser solutions to heating concepts and beyond. The combustion chamber and injector are critical parts of Launcher’s E-2 engine. The company says it has already achieved its target combustion performance of 98%+ C* using sub-scale versions of the E-2 engine 3D printed with the same machine and materials.
The highest performance engine for small satellite launch vehicles is currently in development, and its first full-scale test fire is scheduled for Q2 2020. The full-size Launcher E-2 combustion chamber will be on display at the upcoming Formnext conference and exhibit.