WEPA-Technologies will be present at ‘SpacePropulsion 2014’ conference (http://www.propulsion2014.com/) in Cologne / Germany (05/19 – 05/23).
CEO Dr. Weuta will give a presentation and talk about current developments at WEPA in the field of propulsion technology (‘Development of Low Cost Propulsion Systems for Micro-Satellite Launch Vehicles’).
(The extended summary can be downloaded below.)
Development of a Low Cost Propulsion System for Micro-Satellite Launch Vehicles
Authors: Dr.-Ing. Peter H. Weuta, Dipl.-Ing. Neil Jaschinski
The development of a low cost launch vehicle able to deliver commercial payloads like micro satellites into LEO and beyond is the holy grail of private space flight. One key component required is a low cost propulsion system. An overview of the
technology under development at WEPA-Technologies will be given. Furthermore we present the out-line of the μ-Launcher, a system with simple, cost effective design, high reliability and use of ‚green propellants’.
An advantage of the launch vehicle discussed would be the reduced dependence on ‘secondary payload rides’ being very common nowadays. Launch schedules and orbits could be chosen according to customer requirements.
Besides that, the launch system could assure independent, low lead time, European space access for small payloads.
To realize low launch costs, a three stage design is chosen using nearly identical propulsion units in stages one and two. Stage one will use a clustered engine design. A precursor of the propulsion system is based on a turbo pump fed, liquid propellant engine using LOX/Ethanol and currently under development by WEPA-Technologies. To reduce development effort the basic configuration is based on proven designs used in the rocket programs of the former Soviet Union and USA.
Low cost propulsion will be realized by:
1) simplified design of rocket engines and turbo pumps
2) low-level operational parameters (chamber pressure)
3) use of low-cost materials and manufacturing technologies
4) unification of design of propulsion systems for the first and second stages via clustering
5) environmentally benign and easy to handle propellant components (LOX / Ethanol)
The second stage of the launch vehicle will be used to develop and qualify key components via flight testing. Initial focus will be on qualification of the propulsion system including thrust vector control.
Based on the results the roll out of a suborbital launch vehicle is planned as an intermediate step towards the micro satellite launch vehicle. The goal will be to offer frequent opportunities to the Nano- and Micro-Satellite community to prequalify their
technologies during suborbital flights. First simulations of flight performance do show a maximum altitude of 400 km ( 50 kg payload).
WEPA-Technologies GmbH has been founded in 2011 to provide development and manufacturing solutions in the field of Automation, Engineering and Aerospace. An extensive range of manufacturing technologies is available at the company owned
workshop facility. Prototyping therefore can be realized in house.