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ESA awards Dawn Aerospace €385K development contract for 3D printed rocket engines

Oct 31

The European Space Agency (ESA) has granted a €385K development contract to launch provider, Dawn Aerospace under the Future Launcher Preparatory Program (FLPP).

Through the contract, ESA will support Dawn in developing additively manufactured (3D printed) combustion chambers for high performance and high combustion pressure rocket engines.

“We are proud to work in cooperation with the European Space Agency,” said Jeroen Wink, Dawn Aerospace CEO. “This is important work that will lead to higher-performance, more reliable rocket engines that can fly to space hundreds of times without refurbishment”.

Commonly printed materials such as stainless steel, Inconel and titanium lack the thermal conductivity required for ultra-high-performance combustion chambers. The planned work involves novel 3D printing high melting temperature and high thermally conductive materials, with optimised topologies.

Implementation of successful results is then planned for Dawn’s 2.5kN rocket engine within the Mk-II Aurora spaceplane.

Additive manufacturing offers an excellent opportunity to reduce the cost, weight and part count of rocket engines. Applying this method to these materials will lead to high-performance and lighter rocket engines.

Instrumental to the European strategy for access to space, ESA’s FLPP oversees research to foster new launch technologies, lightweight and high-performance systems, reusability, low-cost structures and green launch systems.

The views expressed in this announcement cannot be taken to reflect the official opinions of the European Space Agency.