WEPA-Technologies did visit ‘Re-Inventing Space 2015’ conference (http://rispace.org/) in Oxford / United Kingdom (11/09 – 11/13).
The annual conference has been well attended by about 400 international participants – program overview:
CEO Dr. Weuta gave a poster presentation about current developments at WEPA-Technologies in the field of propulsion technology. (Liquid Propellant Rocket Engines and Turbo Pumps.)
Multiple companies and research organisations did express deep interest in low cost propulsion systems. These systems were bound for integration into their low cost launch systems under development. Most of these systems are intended to provide personalized launches to transport micro- and small satellites into the orbit desired.
Very strong interest has been attracted by the current evaluation of ceramic thrust chamber technologies, as these technologies have a very high potential for reusability. This is one of the key factors required for reusable, lower cost launch systems.
(While multiple organizations world wide are working at present on the development of a low cost launch system, commercial availability of low cost propulsion technology still is an unresolved issue.)
WEPA-Technologies’ mobile concentrator technology to produce on customers site up to 98 % H2O2 by a fully automatic, very safe process has been of considerable interest for several groups.
(The extended conference contribution can be downloaded below.)
The development of low cost propulsion systems for launch-, in-space and space tourism applications are a key component to enable private space flight.
An overview of the technology under development at WEPA-Technologies will be given. All propulsion systems focus on simple, cost effective design, high reliability and use of ‚green propellants’. To reduce development efforts, the basic configuration is partially 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 (< 60 bar chamber pressure)
3) use of low-cost materials and manufacturing technologies
4) unification of design of propulsion systems for the first and second stages of launch systems via clustering
5) environmentally benign and easy to handle propellant components as LOX / H2O2 / Ethanol / Kerosene – no NO2 / N2O4 or hydrazines
The development of LPRE does encompass thrust chambers and turbo pumps.
At present the activities are focussed on a turbo pump fed, 3.5 to thrust demonstration unit (50 bar chamber pressure) using LOX respective H2O2 and Ethanol.
H2O2-based propellants significantly facilitate development and reliable operation of propulsion- and overall systems architecture – key advantages can be summarized as follows:
Taking into account these advantages, WEPA-Technologies considers the use of Hydrogen Peroxide to be one very attractive option to enable fast track development of propulsion systems.
Therefore the development acivities in this area will be discussed in detail and are focussed on the following areas:
As ready and low leadtime availabilty of Hydrogen Peroxide even at a concentration level of 87,5 % is not always given and concentrations in the range of 90 – 98 % are - if at all - available under severe legal restrictions only, WEPA-Technologies does offer custom designed concentration plants.
Stationary plants delivering up to 90 % are available on a commercial basis at present and can be visited at a customers site (capacity: ~ 50 kg / d). Process technology to deliver up to 98 % is under development and will be available by late 2016. Safe and fully automatic, 24 h operability are key features of the plants.
In-flight qualification of propulsion systems are a key point of WEPA-Technologies’ development strategy. The design of a sounding rocket under construction is discussed.
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. Fast track prototyping therefore can be realized in house.