Orbex世界最大の3Dプリントロケットエンジン搭載ロケット公開

2015年に設立したイギリス、スコットランドにある航空宇宙産業企業Orbexは、現時点で世界最大の3Dプリンタロケットエンジンを搭載したロケットを開発。2021年イギリス、スコットランド北部にあるA’Mhoine peninsulaより打ち上げ予定のようです。

Orbex公式サイトよりそのまま一部引用。

Orbex Unveils Prime Rocket at New Facility in Scotland

Reveals World’s Largest 3-D Printed Rocket Engine and Confirms First Satellites to be Launched from Scotland

Orbex has publicly unveiled its Prime rocket for the first time at the opening of its new headquarters and rocket design facility in Forres in the Scottish Highlands. Designed to deliver small satellites into Earth’s orbit, the rocket was unveiled at an opening ceremony attended by VIPs from the UK and European space community as well as local community stakeholders.

The completed engineering prototype of the Stage 2 rocket (the stage that will transit into orbital flight after launch) is made from a specially-formulated lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium composite and includes the world’s largest 3-D printed rocket engine. Orbex Prime is a completely re-thought and re-engineered two-stage rocket, designed by Orbex aerospace engineers with professional experience from organisations including NASA, ESA and Ariane, as well as other commercial spaceflight companies. Thanks to its novel architecture, Prime launchers are up to 30% lighter and 20% more efficient than any other vehicle in the small launcher category, packing more power per cubic litre than many heavy launchers.

Seen for the first time, the 3-D printed rocket engine was uniquely manufactured in a single piece without joins in partnership with additive manufacturer SLM Solutions. Given the extreme temperature and pressure fluctuations involved in space flight, this gives the engine an advantage over other rocket engines, which can suffer from weaknesses associated with joining and welding. It is also the first commercial rocket engine designed to work with bio-propane, a clean-burning, renewable fuel source that cuts carbon emissions by 90% compared to fossil hydrocarbon fuels, supplied by Orbex’s new exclusive BioLPG fuel partner Calor.

Orbex first came into the public eye in July of 2018, when the UK Space Agency announced that Orbex had been chosen to launch from the proposed spaceport in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, as part of the main consortium. At that time, the company announced that it had already won £30 million ($40 million) in private and public backing for the project, making it Europe’s best-funded private launch company, straight out of stealth mode.

The company revealed the identities of more customers that would be among the first to launch their satellites from the Sutherland spaceport. On Orbex Prime’s maiden flight from Scotland in 2021, the rocket will carry an experimental payload from UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), the world’s leading manufacturer of small satellites. This launch will represent an important first for the UK commercial space industry, demonstrating the UK’s end-to-end launch capability with a UK rocket launching a UK satellite from a UK spaceport.

Orbex also announced that Swiss-based Astrocast SA, has selected Orbex to launch multiple nanosatellites for the development of a planet-wide Internet of Things (IoT) network. Astrocast’s satellite-based IoT network will eventually include 64 nanosatellites, spread across eight strata above the Earth to deliver IoT connectivity across the planet, including regions currently considered remote or inaccessible. One of the leading companies in the European space sector and strategic investor in Orbex, Elecnor Deimos, has also confirmed that it has contracted with Orbex for up to twenty satellite launches.

The new Headquarters building at Forres is a 2,000 square metre facility. It will combine a rocket design and integration facility, an operations centre as well as executive offices. It is expected that the facility will help bring over 130 jobs to the Scottish Highlands region, with an intense recruitment drive for the company already underway.


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