ESA awards Dawn Aerospace €385K contract for additively manufactured rocket engines

November 3, 2020

The project will result in Dawn’s 2.5 kN rocket engine used in the Mk-II Aurora spaceplane (Courtesy Dawn Aerospace/ESA)

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a €385,000 development contract to launch provider Dawn Aerospace, based in New Zealand and the Netherlands, under its Future Launcher Preparatory Program (FLPP). Through the contract, the ESA will support Dawn in developing additively manufactured combustion chambers for high-performance and high-combustion pressure rocket engines.

“We are proud to work in cooperation with the European Space Agency,” stated Jeroen Wink, Dawn Aerospace CEO. “This is important work that will lead to higher-performance, more reliable rocket engines that can fly to space hundreds of times without refurbishment”.

Commonly additively manufactured materials such as stainless steel, Inconel and titanium are said to lack the thermal conductivity required for ultra-high-performance combustion chambers. The planned work involves the novel Additive Manufacturing of high-melting temperature and highly thermally conductive materials with optimised topologies.

The implementation of successful results is planned for Dawn’s 2.5 kN rocket engine within the Mk-II Aurora spaceplane. Instrumental to the European strategy for access to space, the ESA’s FLPP oversees research to foster new launch technologies, lightweight and high-performance systems, reusability, low-cost structures and green launch systems.

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