Until now, there have been 3D printed rockets, but never at this scale. British company Orbex presented “the largest rocket engine”. The entire rocket, including the engine, will have a height of 17 meters, about a quarter of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 size.
The news comes a few weeks after Relativity Space has signed a contract with the U.S. Air Force to launch their 3D printed rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, writes Futurism.
Orbex worked with aerospace veterans for organizations including NASA and ESA to build a stage 2 missile that is part of a multi-stage missile that sends a spacecraft into orbit after its launch on Earth.
The company claims it is the first time a missile engine manufactured with a 3D printer “was made from a single piece, without gaskets,” the company officials said. This means that the rocket is 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than other small launchers. Without such joints, the rocket can also withstand extreme temperatures and pressures.
The rocket is also designed to use biopan, “a renewable and clean fuel source that reduces carbon emissions by 90%,” Orbex added.
Moreover, the British company will build a space port in Sutherland, Scotland, where it will launch its launch in 2021. Orbex has been partnered with the Swiss company Astrocast to launch 64 nanoscientists to create the global Internet of Things network.