Pangea Aerospace successfully hot fires AM aerospike engine

November 17, 2021

Pangea has hot fired its DemoP1, the first dual regeneratively cooled aerospike engine (Courtesy Pangea)

Pangea Aerospace, Barcelona, Spain, has successfully hot fired what is reputed to be the first dual regeneratively cooled aerospike engine, DemoP1, at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) facilities in Lampoldshausen. Pangea credits the Additive Manufacturing, done by Aenium, Valladolid, Spain, and the use of new materials with its ability to improve the thermal qualities of aerospike engines.

These engines have been sought after since they were first theorised in the 1950s, but, despite testing in the ’80s and ’90s, no aerospike engine has ever flown. In part, this has been due to the high cost of manufacturing and engineering difficulties relating to cooling.

Aerospike engines use a ‘V’ shaped nozzle to direct the exhaust gases that propel the rocket. As the nozzle is open, exhaust gases are always being expelled due to changing ambient pressure. This unique ability means a 15% efficiency increase compared to bell nozzles – in other words, 15% less fuel is required to bring the same mass into orbit.

Comparison of a bell nozzle rocket engine (left) and an aerospike rocket engine (right) (Courtesy Pangea)

Aenium additively manufactured the component using GRCop-42, a copper-chrome-niobium alloy developed by NASA, for which it currently has exclusive European capabilities. As the engine was additively manufactured in only two pieces, its productions costs are reported to be extremely low.

Pangea Aerospace designed a new regenerative cooling system using liquid oxygen and liquid methane (both in cryogenic state) as propellants. These go through cooling channels before being ignited in the combustion chamber, thus allowing the propellants to cool the engine.

Pangea additively manufactured the aerospike engine from a copper-chrome-niobium alloy developed by NASA (Courtesy Pangea)

Miguel Ampudia, CEO of Aenium, stated, “Thanks to GRCop-42 and Aenium’s technology, we have been able to manufacture this engine, which has one of the most complex designs. We are really proud to be able to manufacture this together with Pangea Aerospace, as it will help power tomorrow’s space endeavours.”

Pangea has recently been awarded a contract from CNES (French Space Agency) to begin a study on how this proprietary technology could be applied to larger engines. The company has also reported interest from other commercial organisations and space agencies.

www.pangeaaerospace.com

www.aenium.es

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • The GRCop story: The development, production and Additive Manufacturing of NASA’s rocket engine alloys
  • Formnext 2023: Innovations in metal Additive Manufacturing from the industry’s leading international exhibition
  • Cybersecurity in Additive Manufacturing: Securing the industry’s future
  • Additive Manufacturing in the jewellery industry: exploring the potential of platinum and titanium
  • Mission possible: The five-year plan to gain FAA and EASA acceptance of in-process monitoring

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap