We have lift off – Skyrora begins testing 3D printed rocket engines in Scotland

The Scottish spacetech company begins testing of its 3D printed 70kN engine in its testing facilities in Midlothian
We have lift off – Skyrora begins testing 3D printed rocket engines in Scotland

Scottish spacetech company Skyrora will commence the testing of the updated design of its 70kN engine - engines were 3D printed using Skyrora’s Skyprint 2 machine which it claims will half the production time and reduce costs.

The engine testing which will be done in Skyroras testing facility in Midlothian, will be focusing on the ‘life cycle and full operational envelope testing while the engine runs for 250 seconds, the same amount of time that it will run in a real mission to reach orbit’ – with no damage to hardware. A test article iteration consisting of data analysis, design adjustments, and manufacturing can be completed in approximately three weeks.

Skyrora testing facility in Midlothian, Scotland

And speaking of the testing facility, when it was launched last year Skyrora said that 'a local test facility means a lower carbon footprint compared to having to transport engines and equipment to third-party facilities. The Midlothian site harnesses its natural surroundings and uses rainfall from the Scottish Lowlands as part of the cooling systems of the test stand'. 

“The new models of 3D printed engines are bringing Skyrora closer towards efficient commercial orbital launch. With our purpose-built rocket manufacturing and testing facilities in Scotland, we are proud to be localising as much of the launch value chain as possible. The new engine technology developed by Skyrora’s engineers and the commitment to a sustainable design are a testament to the innovation taking place in the UK space sector,” says CEO and Founder Volodymyr Levykin. 

Skyrora hopes its 70 kN engine will become the first ever commercial engine to use a closed-cycle staged combustion system run on a propellant combination of hydrogen peroxide and kerosene - increasing the overall efficiency of the engine.

Already having tested the second and third stages of the vehicle in the last couple of years, this new phase of testing will be full-duration testing. Upon completion of the engine qualification programme, Skyrora plans to build a series of production engines to test the full first stage of Skyrora XL, the final stage to be tested prior to a demo orbital launch.

A pending licence approval will allow Skyrora to commence commercial launch operations from SaxaVord Spaceport in the Shetland Isles.

Levykin took part in a panel discussion at this year's Tech.eu Summit - Space Tech - Europe's role in the next-level Space Race - with Bianca Cefalo, co-founder and CEO, Space DOTS, and moderated by our own Dan Taylor. Take a look/listen below.

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