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Vector Space Systems 3D printed a cheap mini rocket

by • August 7, 2016 • No Comments

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The aerospace industry has yet another 3D printing good results story on its hands. Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space commence company comprised of new-space industry veterans of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, not long ago had a good resultsful commence of their P-20 rocket, a sub-scale test vehicle for the Vector 1, in advance of orbital commencees in 2018.

P-20 Rocket

Their 12 foot long P-20 rocket is specifically created to commence Micro Satellites, and is may already the only commence process dedicated to micro spacecraft. Vector’s goal is to provide the increasing amount of space startups with additional cost effective commence-enabling platforms and vehicles. The company is in addition really ambitious, with sizeable-scale sub-orbital test flights planned for 2017, and orbital commencees following in 2018. A sizeable number of the P-20’s components are 3D printed, which is what assists drive the price down significantly, producing it perfect for more tiny companies to use. It is capable of carrying loads of up to 50 kg into a low planet Earth orbit, and did so for Finnish company Iceye on July 30th.

Vector Space Systems test

The Vector team prior to commence in the Mojave Desert. Image: qz.com

About the partnership with Iceye

Iceye works on growing the availability of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to assist decision producing in areas such as trade, exploration, relief efforts, farming, and environmental protection. They are striving to commence and operate a constellation of micro satellites which carry their own tiny and efficient SAR sensor innovation.

Iceye engineers

Iceye engineers. Image: ArsTechnica.com

“Iceye is honored to be a part of this inaugural test commence and to start our partnership with Vector Space Systems,” said Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski. “With our plans to commence up to 30 satellites over the following five years, we assume to work closely with Vector Space Systems as a key partner in commenceing and refreshing our constellation for years to come.”

On the 2nd of August the two companies in addition revealed which an agreement to conduct 21 commencees had been finalized.

“Since Vector created earlier this year, we have moved quickly in the direction of an orbital capability via our micro satellite commence vehicle. To have a satellite constellation as significant and sizeable as Iceye select Vector as its commence vehicle is a reflection of our innovation, team and development program,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems.

“We appear forward to most next good resultses together in our partnership with Iceye and to their good results as a major provider of radar imagery of orbit. Our orbital commence capabilities are on a instant track for a debut flight in 2018, and we are continuing with our propulsion development and qualification testing, as well as vehicle manufacturing.”

Benefits for more tiny enterprises

The reality of commenceing 30 satellites only a few years ago may have been quite various for Iceye. In the majority of cases, tiny satellites are commenceed in sizeable groups by companies like ULA or Arianespace, who only fly a dozen or so undertakings annual. Finding a spot on one of those few commencees may be tricky and costly, not to mention a hassle. Customizing the satellite to the rocket which it is hitching a ride on, booking your spot on a commence (often over a year away)…the logistical problems are numerous for more tiny enterprises.

Large scale space commencees per year

“We are may already seeing traffic jams for a commence at the national ranges,” Virgin Galactic executive Will Pomerantz says. “You want to fly on date X, so does NASA, and so does the Air Force; you can imagine where a tiny entrepreneurial company may fall on the pecking order.”

This is where Vector Space Systems comes in. “Nobody is paying attention to those guys—they’re yet treated like toys, like second-class citizens, they don’t have a reliable way to get to orbit,” Cantrell says. Together with John Garvey, he saw a accident to assist more tiny companies reach excellent heights. Whilst they are not the only space commence company out there, they have big aspirations. “I’m going to dominate the tiny side,” he introduced.

Vector Space Systems

The P-20 rocket commence. Image: Vector Space Systems

How does 3D printing offer?

3D printing can play a massive role in a solution.

“The Vector propulsion team has created immense progress in a quite rapid manner, assembling and good resultsfully testing an engine via 3D printed components inside two months of the company’s founding,” Cantrell said. “The rapidity and good results of this test sets the standard for the instant development of our commence vehicle and furthers our undertaking to revolutionize the way commerce accesses and uses space.” Their 3D printed single-piece injector runs on a one-of-a-kind propellant, consisting of liquid oxygen and densified propylene.

You can see footage of the commence here.

You can in addition be interested to see what other advancements 3D printing has offerd to in the aerospace industry. From Gilmour Space Technologies to NASA, innovations are taking place equitewhere.

Featured image: Vector Space Systems

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