Deep Blue Aerospace using Farsoon FS621M to build rocket engine combustion chambers

September 22, 2022

Deep Blue Aerospace’s rocket engine combustion chamber, additively manufactured on Farsoon’s FS621M (Courtesy Deep Blue Aerospace)
Deep Blue Aerospace’s rocket engine combustion chamber, additively manufactured on Farsoon’s FS621M (Courtesy Deep Blue Aerospace)

Commercial rocket manufacturer Deep Blue Aerospace, Nantong, Jiangsu, China, invested in a FS621M metal Additive Manufacturing machine from Farsoon Technologies, headquartered in Changsha, Hunan, earlier this year to aid in the development of its rocket engines. As one of the first in China to utilise metal Additive Manufacturing for these applications, the company has used its new AM machine to produce a rocket engine combustion chamber.

Deep Blue’s additively manufactured Inconel combustion chamber measures 780 mm high x 550 mm in diameter. Major challenges include the size of the build, function integration, and detail resolution. The adoption of Additive Manufacturing is said to have enabled new innovations from Deep Blue engineers including consolidated design, light-weight lattice structures, and self-supported geometries; other features – such as complex geometries with many hundreds of internal cooling ribs and channels – are designated to promote combustion efficiency of the rocket engine. The FS621M also allows for economical production of oversized aerospace parts with an accelerated design-validation cycle by a reputed 80% compared to the conventional manufacturing process.

“Being a key component of the rocket engine, the combustion chamber has to achieve the required performance, efficiency and reliability under the extreme operating conditions of heat and pressure,” says Dr Tian Cailan, head of Additive Manufacturing of Deep Blue Aerospace. “We are fully convinced with the high quality, fast production speed, and operational stability delivered with Farsoon FS621M system. We are able to offer products that are significantly lighter, more repeatable, yet demonstrates much better properties during the functional test, which is essential to meet the demanding standards of aerospace industry.”

Deep Blue Aerospace completed its first reusable launch test with its DBA-M launch vehicle, known as the ‘Grass Hopper Jump’. Following this first success, Deep Blue Aerospace executed the VTVL (vertical take-off and vertical landing) test, successfully conducting a 100 m jump. On May 7, 2022, Deep Blue Aerospace achieved a second VTVL test launch to an altitude of 1000 m; the distance between landing point and target was within 0.5 m. By the end of June 2022, the ignition test of the 20-ton thrust liquid oxygen kerosene rocket engine ‘Thunder**-**R1’ – which had been designed to deliver high performance while being economical for low volume production rockets – had been completed.

This rapid pace of development and the completion of these launch tests means that Deep Blue Aerospace is said to be the second company in the world to succeed in all low-altitude engineering tests of reusable liquid oxygen kerosene rockets, following US-based spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX.

“At Deep Blue, we produce over 80% of the key components in rocket engine using metal 3D printing,” added Dr Tian Cailan. “Farsoon’s FS621M offers us the ability to rapidly manufacture large-sized engine parts featuring lightweight design, structural integration, improved performance and reliability; with only a fraction of the cost, labour and lead time compared to the traditional technologies.”

“For the next step,” Cailan continued, “Deep Blue Aerospace will continue the VTVL launching test at a high-altitude, and start its very first orbital launch mission of the reusable full-scale carrier rocket.” Says Dr Tian, “We have full confidence combing our innovative designs with the expertise of Farsoon, and keep pushing the boundaries in metal powder bed fusion technology for large-scale engine parts production.”

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