Given our current state of technology, mankind is relying exclusively on chemical rockets to get between Earth and space. And right now, they aren’t that efficient, with costs still in the thousands of dollars per pound sent up. Now, some of that is the inherent limitations of chemical rockets – they, as a design, do not have performance characteristics that can compete with proposed next generation concepts. However, they are here, and as the best we’ve got, it’s incumbent on us to improve them as much as possible. With that in mind, here’s a fairly interesting engineering piece on how the redesign of engines to use aluminium nozzles and chambers improves costs and reusability.
I’ve been too busy to do much blogging lately, but I just saw this on twitter a bit over an hour ago: XCOR and ULA Demonstrate Revolutionary Rocket Engine Nozzle Technology, and wanted to make some comments.
First off, I wanted to congratulate my friends at XCOR and ULA. This engine work that ULA and XCOR have been doing is something I’ve been watching from the sidelines for some time now, and it’s cool to see them making progress. As Jeff Greason pointed out during and after the Augustine Committee’s work, the US rocket industrial base is in bad shape, and getting new blood and new ideas injected into it is critical.
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