Launching into space with 3D printed rocket engines

Launcher

US-based startup Launcher builds entire 10 Ton-force liquid rocket engine combustion chambers and injector on a customized large scale AM system from AMCM and tests them at NASA Stennis Space Center.

 

This AMCM M4K 3D printed Launcher E-2 engine is full size and will be used on the first stage of their orbital launch vehicle to deliver small satellite to orbit.

Back in 2018, Max Haot, CEO of the rocket company Launcher was looking for a solution to print entire combustion chambers for their Launcher E-2 engine. Those parts are typically 450 x 450 x 1000 mm in dimensions, are made out of CuCrZr and have intricate internal regenerative cooling channels.

Such a solution did not exist at that point in time. In particular, there was no AM process available for CuCrZr and no AM system would be able to produce such dimensions as a single part which is critical to reach high performance and low cost that is the core of Launcher’s strategy

AMCM has carefully listened and has analyzed our requirements to come up in record time with a large scale system capable of successfully printing our combustion chambers
Max Haot, CEO Launcher

Together with Launcher, AMCM defined the requirements to the AM system and started the development of a dedicated AM Machine based on the reliable M400 platform from EOS. Only 9 month later, AMCM released the first AMCM M4K with 450 x 450 x 1000 mm (x, y, z) build volume, and printed a first combustion chamber model out of AlSi10Mg.

AMCM M 4K

Large scale, high productivity system for demanding AM applications. 1 meter building height with up to 4 x 1.000 W laser power.

Think big.

Learn more

In parallel, AMCM partnered with the material & process development department of EOS in Finland to develop and test processes for CuCrZr. Resulting from this cooperation, first real full size CuCrZr combustion chambers have successfully been printed on the M4K.

Launcher won a prestigious award from the U.S. Air Force with this part. Along with a substantial financial contribution, Launcher was also granted access to NASA’s Stennis Space Center facilities to build their test stand and test the AMCM M4K printed parts. Getting access to such a costly and scarce resource is a substantial commitment and sign of trust, that was well deserved by the Launcher team after all their achievements.

Image-Credit for the images (also the cover image): Launcher/John Kraus.

Any Questions?

We'd love to hear from you.