Space Coast Company Aiming to Make Access to Space Cheaper.
An upstart rocket engine builder in Cocoa is looking to make its mark on the space industry by doing it leaner.
By Greg Pallone
This article was originally published at Spectrum News 13.
COCOA, Fla. — An upstart rocket engine builder in Cocoa is looking to make its mark on the space industry by doing it leaner.
- Rocket Crafters conducted 43rd hot-fire test for hybrid rocket engine
- Engines are simpler mechanically, cheaper to make
- Read more space coverage
It’s kind of a “little engine that could” in a race to get a piece of the commercial space industry pie.
Wednesday marked the 43rd hot-fire test of Rocket Crafters‘ latest hybrid rocket engine.
This 550-pound thrust test didn’t go as planned and was aborted, but there will be corrections to get it right. It’s all part of the development of the most advanced hybrid engine ever.
“I get to put my name in the history of rocketry,” says recent Florida Tech grad Kineo Wallace, who at only 23 years old is responsible for designing these engines.
The engines are far simpler mechanically than larger-complex ones being used today. And they’re also far cheaper to make.
“We are bringing the cost of space down even further so that smaller companies can access space,” Wallace told Spectrum News.
“Our basic motor has nine components to it — ranging from the helium tank that provides pressure to keep the nitrous oxide flowing, all the way out to the nozzle. And only two moving parts in the whole stack,” said Rocket Crafters President Rob Fabian.
Fueled by a 3-D printed plastic fuel core, the plastic is the same as material used to make Legos.
Combined with nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, Rocket Crafters says it’s room temperature and is safer and non-hazardous, unlike other rocket fuels.
“We are literally burning laughing gas and Legos,” Fabian said.
All of this is part of rocket motor building and testing in the company’s modest facility, just up the road from Cape Canaveral.
Fabian says the area’s rich space history and young talent pool made it ideal to set up shop on the Space Coast.
Rocket Crafters is seeking more private funding as they grow. The goal is to build a rocket engine manufacturing facility on the Space Coast.
“We are the ‘little engine that could,'” Wallace said with a smile.
Rocket Crafters is gearing up for the launch of it’s soon to be built Intrepid-1 rocket from Cape Canaveral in 2020. It’s still to be determined what payload will be onboard.
Source: Spectrum News 13.