Skyrora’s updated rocket engine undergoes testing

13th Jul 2023
Skyrora’s updated rocket engine undergoes testing

Edinburgh-based Skyrora is currently conducting a series of tests on the next iteration of their first-of-its-kind 3D-printed rocket engines at their test site in Midlothian, Scotland. Skyrora’s updated rocket engine, now boasting 70kN thrust, is undergoing a full-duration test simulating a commercial orbital launch.

This bold endeavor aims to transform the industry, making space missions more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly than ever before.

Skyrora’s updated rocket engine test

The unveiling of their latest Skyprint 2 machine has revolutionized their production process. Harnessing the power of 3D printing, Skyrora has slashed production time in half while significantly reducing development costs. Compared to its predecessor, this new engine model has achieved a 20 percent cost reduction and operates at a 66 percent faster pace. The upgraded design also features an enhanced engine cooling chamber, paving the way for extended engine life cycles.

The new engine will undergo an exhaustive “full operational envelope testing” period, burning for 250 seconds – the very duration required to launch a rocket into orbit. Skyrora’s press release highlights the desired outcome: nominal chamber pressures and thrust levels, without a single blemish on the hardware. Success in this endeavor will be a confirmation of their groundbreaking engineering prowess.

The qualification test site. Credit: Skyrora

However, this is merely the beginning. Skyrora’s ongoing testing endeavors hold the key to unlocking their ultimate goal: commercial flights and services to other esteemed organizations. These tests are instrumental in acquiring an engine qualification, a crucial step towards obtaining the necessary certifications for future commercial operations. With the support of the ESA’s Boost! Programme, Skyrora is one step closer to cementing its status in the space industry.

Engine qualification

Once the engine earns its qualification, Skyrora will unleash the full potential of its in-house 3D printer. This groundbreaking technology will enable Skyrora to offer its cutting-edge services to other organizations. Moreover, Skyrora plans to ramp up its upgraded engine manufacturing rate while conducting comprehensive first-stage testing for the Skyrora XL launch vehicle.

Skyrora is also waiting for its Civil Aviation Authority license. Once obtained, the launches will commence from the SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Isles. The application for this license was filed in 2022.

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