Two records for Launcher’s E-1 3D printed 🚀 engine

Launcher E-1 3D printed rocket engine in action (Credit Launcher/John Kraus)

In the last few weeks, the Launcher team successfully reached two testing milestones in the development of our 3D printed liquid rocket engine to eventually power the highest performance orbital launch vehicle for small satellites.

MILESTONE #1: A 30-second run at the highest performance mix-ratio of 2.6 (for LOX/RP-1 propellants). Reaching combustion temperature of about 6,000F, more than twice the melting point of our 3D printed Inconel 718 chamber. Watch the video on Twitter or Youtube

MILESTONE #2: The first 100-second run: The duration was only limited by the size of our liquid oxygen tank in our test stand. For context, our future orbital launch vehicle booster engines (E-2 — our 22,000 lbf thrust, staged combustion cycle flight engine in development) will be expected to run for just 150-seconds before the main engine cut-off and stage separation events. Watch the video on Twitter or Youtube.

E-1 (shown in the videos) is a sub-scale development rocket engine designed to prove the effectiveness of our regenerative cooling channels when applied to a 3D printed Inconel 718 combustion chamber. E-1 and its test stand are critical testing tools to prove design at our performance goals conditions — before we go ahead and 3D print the much larger and higher cost E-2 combustion chamber (2019).

Our goal for E-2 is the highest performance combustion conditions for our propellants (LOX/RP-1): 2.63 O/F mix ratio (highest specific impulse and close to the highest combustion temperature) and 1,422 psi of chamber pressure (the optimum pressure for performance considering our engine size and closed cycle).

Our next immediate steps for E-1: Increasing the 2.6 O/F mix ratio test to 100-seconds and performing various E-1 test stand and injector upgrades to increase the chamber pressure towards our E-2 goal of 1,422 psi.

Thank you for following our progress along our team’s journey to develop the highest performance small satellite orbital launch vehicle.

Launcher E-1 3D printed rocket engine in action (Credit Launcher/John Kraus)