Rocket Crafters hybrid engine
“This revolutionary patented technology enables for the first time the use of much safer, consistent performing hybrid rocket engines to power orbital launch vehicles.” - Ronald Jones
Rocket Crafters has had a patent granted for a method of designing and fabricating high-performance fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines using additive manufacturing technology.
The innovative method will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts. President, Co-Founder and CTO Ronald Jones, who is credited with the patent, stated that 3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbit at as low as half the current launch costs.
The development-stage company, operating in the space access industry, is currently developing Intrepid-1, the world’s first mass-producible orbital launch vehicle powered by rocket engines based on the now patented technology. This most recent patent furthers RCI’s portfolio of licensed technology that now includes multiple granted patents and pending applications.
“RCI continues to innovate,” said former NASA astronaut and retired Sandia National Labs executive Sid Gutierrez, Chairman and CEO of RCI. “This new patent shows our commitment to making access to space safer, more reliable and more affordable than ever before. I have believed for years that hybrid rockets, due to the inherent safety when propellants are protected against accidental detonation by storing them in different states, could be the solution to make rocket powered flight as safe a airline travel one day. With our 3D-printed fuel technology, we now have the means to make this a reality.”
The patented method uses a design and fabrication technique that is only possible using advanced 3D printing technology. This boosts rocket engine performance, while eliminating the historical inconsistencies and sources of excessive vibration that have plagued traditionally designed hybrid rockets for decades. Taking advantage of 3D printing’s unique ability to precisely fabricate fuel grains, this method features internal geometric patterns. These patterns are designed to significantly increase the amount of fuel that is available for combustion on a second-by-second basis during the rocket engine’s operation.
“This revolutionary patented technology enables for the first time the use of much safer, consistent performing hybrid rocket engines to power orbital launch vehicles,” Jones said. “The fuel grains we are able t produce using this technology provides the structural strength needed to minimise vibration build-up while enabling the rocket engine to consume high energy solid fuel blends at an accelerated price.”
Rocket Crafters is currently on track to incorporate its rocket motors into orbital launch vehicles by 2019.