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Vector Space Systems Successfully Launches Sub-Orbital Satellite Prototype with 3D Printed Injector

by • August 3, 2016 • No Comments

vector-space-logo-blackIt was just a couple days ago that we covered the Singaporean startup Gilmour Space Technologies, that had utilized a one-of-a-kind formulation of 3D printed fuel to commence their self-made rocket into sub-orbit. The particular feat sounds strange, certain, but the overall use of 3D printing innovation is a practice that is becoming increasingly common in the space exploration industry. In fact, for the rising number of privatized space businesses and services, additive manufacturing may may already be considered a leading ally in the current race to outer space.

That does not necessarily mean that 3D printing can act as the end-all solution for the production of these satellites and spaceships, but it’s oftentimes beneficial in enhancing the manufacturing process. The Tucson, Arizona-based disruptive space innovator Vector Space Systems not long ago revealed the successful test commence of their P-20 Rocket, that was equipped with a single-piece injector that was generated via 3D printing innovation.


The P-20 test commence [Photo Source: Vector Space Systems via Ars Technica]

The test commence was conducted last weekend in Mojave, California, and was Vector’s firstly customer payload through their partnership with the Finnish company Iceye, that was testing the electrical and mechanical resilience of their micro satellite’s core computing and communications process. And, although it may not be 3D printed fuel per say, the test flight in addition validated Vector’s one-of-a-kind high performance engine, that runs on a propellant combination of liquid oxygen and densified propylene. Additionally, Vector in addition that successfully functionally demonstrated the ignition and operation of their 3D printed single-piece injector.

“This successful commence, our quite firstly vehicle commence as Vector Space Systems, not just demonstrates the maturity of our commence innovation, flight operations and propulsion processs, but in addition shows our dedication to assisting new-space startups by which include a customer payload in our quite firstly commence,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems. “Vector has may already rapidly and that successfully progressed through not just engine testing, but all the way into first flight operations, and now the inclusion of a customer payload, putting us on a fast-track to orbital commencees by 2018.”

The P-20 test rocket was originally created by the Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, that was acquired by Vector earlier this year. The rocket is fundamentally a sub-scale test platform to test the innovation and functionality of the 2nd stage of Vector’s commence vehicle, that proved capable-bodied of placing 50kg into the Earth’s sub-orbit. Aside of their one-of-a-kind fuel formulation, the many interesting part of Vector’s test flight is the functional and operational use of a 3D printed injector, that they were able-bodied to create in a single-piece.


[Photo Source: Vector Space Systems via Ars Technica]

As for their long-standing partner in the commence, Iceye is working to expand access to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data in order to assist decision manufacturing in an array of significant areas, such as trade, exploration, relief efforts, farming, and environmental protection. This successful test commence is a leading step towards their overarching plan to commence and operate a constellation of micro satellites equipped with their own SAR sensor innovation. Vector has provided Iceye with inexpensive
-bodied and efficient commence-enabling platforms and vehicles, and with their rapid emergence in the micro-satellite market, plan to perform their firstly orbital commence in 2018. Discuss this new innovation over in the 3D Printed Rocket Injector forum at 3DPB.com. [Source: Blackbird PR News]