Author Topic: Orbex  (Read 5518 times)

Offline ringsider

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Orbex
« on: 07/11/2017 02:26 PM »
Orbex wins Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Grant for Space Launch Vehicle Tanks

London, 11 July 2017: Orbex, the UK-based developer of launch vehicles and services for small satellites, has won a prestigious European Commission Horizon 2020 SME Instrument award.

The grant was awarded to assist in the development of an innovative space launch vehicle fuel tank architecture developed by Orbex, which reduces the dry mass of launch vehicles by as much as 30% compared to traditional technologies.

“It’s a welcome validation of our innovative, patent-pending structural technology and a confirmation that we are addressing a really significant problem with a globally-relevant market opportunity,” said Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex. “Orbex engineers have already developed functional prototypes of the system, complete with cryogenic cooling systems and instrumentation, and we’re confident it works.”

With 2,030 entrants in the cohort, the SME Instrument awards are exceptionally competitive, and only 7 companies across Europe were awarded a space-related grant in the same period. Orbex is one of the first UK space sector companies to win an SME Instrument award.

“This kind of technology is really crucial in vehicles of this class, where every extra kilogram makes a difference to efficiency and performance,” said Kristian von Bengtson, Orbex CTO. “We’ve carefully studied several options and designed a solution that is really elegant and simple to execute, but that also delivers an enormous benefit in terms of mass and complexity reduction.”

The SME Instrument programme is designed to assist internationally-oriented SMEs in implementing high-risk and high-potential innovation ideas. It aims at supporting projects with a European dimension that lead to major changes in how business is done.

Orbex recently announced an investment by one of Europe’s largest VC funds, as well as the existence of a large rocket vehicle production facility that had previously been kept under wraps.

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They write a nice press release but where are the pictures that prove they are actually doing stuff?
« Last Edit: 03/22/2018 07:40 PM by ringsider »

Offline ringsider

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Re: Orbex wins some money for tanks
« Reply #1 on: 07/17/2017 07:12 PM »
Another article on Orbex in the UK press:-

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/all-systems-go-for-second-launch-bid-at-spaceport-rv0ztx6r0

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They are being quite coy with images, but I wonder if they have actually been doing stuff?

This image seems to indicate some real worid work going on - my spidey sense says they have cropped it deliberately to hide some details, especially the size:-



And the title of that image is "Engine-Detail.jpg"...
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 04:38 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline ringsider

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #2 on: 09/03/2017 03:25 PM »
« Last Edit: 09/03/2017 03:42 PM by ringsider »

Offline ringsider

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #3 on: 10/04/2017 01:02 PM »
There are some new operations-type photos on Twitter: @orbexspace



They are very careful not to show anything "real" in public, but you can see that image has been cropped - I suspect there is something interesting to the left of that truck, near that fence.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2017 01:03 PM by ringsider »

Offline savuporo

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #4 on: 10/08/2017 07:21 PM »
https://twitter.com/orbexspace/status/917006401867837440

Quote
1st public presentation of Orbex tech will be at the Royal Aeronautical Society President's Conference on 22/11/17
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline ringsider

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #5 on: 10/16/2017 11:47 AM »
Another cryptic post to Twitter. Looks like a tank at the bottom of the image?

https://twitter.com/orbexspace/status/919536482179846144


« Last Edit: 10/16/2017 06:49 PM by ringsider »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #6 on: 11/22/2017 01:32 PM »
https://twitter.com/orbexspace/status/917006401867837440

Quote
1st public presentation of Orbex tech will be at the Royal Aeronautical Society President's Conference on 22/11/17

Quote
Chris Larmour, Orbex: developing a launch vehicle capable of delivering 165 kg into sun-synchronous orbit. Been working quietly last few years, in process of closing a 4th round of funding. #Space17

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/933341441669115904
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 01:34 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #7 on: 11/22/2017 01:38 PM »
Quote
Larmour says this is the first time there’s been a public presentation on the company. Still holding some details close, like the fuel the vehicle uses or spaceport they’re considering. #Space17

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/933343414371913728

Edits to addL

Quote
Larmour: have a number of letters of intent, but hope to sign first launch contract for a 50-kg science payload, by year’s end. #Space17

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/933343930044878848

Quote
Larmour: won’t name the fuel we’re using, but not RP-1 or methane; doesn’t freeze at LOX temperatures. #Space17

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/933344717223485440
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 01:42 PM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline envy887

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #8 on: 11/22/2017 02:04 PM »
Quote
Larmour: won’t name the fuel we’re using, but not RP-1 or methane; doesn’t freeze at LOX temperatures. #Space17

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/933344717223485440

There are a several short-chain hydrocarbons that fit this description: Propane, Propene, Ethane, Ethene, and 1-Butene.

Propane is the cheapest, offers the best performance with LOX (when subcooled), and can be stored at room temperatures, so that seems most likely to me.

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #9 on: 11/22/2017 02:23 PM »
Is there any reason to not disclose the propellants they are using? Seems like an unnecessary detail to keep secret.

Offline Craftyatom

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Re: Orbex
« Reply #10 on: 11/22/2017 04:35 PM »
Is there any reason to not disclose the propellants they are using? Seems like an unnecessary detail to keep secret.
It's somewhat related to their tank structure, which (if the press release from July 11th is to be believed) has dry mass savings up to 30%, which is a big deal.  If they're working with a novel process that relies on the fuel type, then keeping it secret might help keep the tank design secret as well.

All baseless speculation, obviously, but that's par for the course when we have so few details :P
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline ringsider

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Is there any reason to not disclose the propellants they are using? Seems like an unnecessary detail to keep secret.
It's somewhat related to their tank structure, which (if the press release from July 11th is to be believed) has dry mass savings up to 30%, which is a big deal.  If they're working with a novel process that relies on the fuel type, then keeping it secret might help keep the tank design secret as well.

All baseless speculation, obviously, but that's par for the course when we have so few details
Engine image from Twitter:-

https://twitter.com/RAeSTimR/status/933344493612556288

Looks like a copper heat sink.
« Last Edit: 11/22/2017 04:55 PM by ringsider »

Offline Craftyatom

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Is there any reason to not disclose the propellants they are using? Seems like an unnecessary detail to keep secret.
It's somewhat related to their tank structure, which (if the press release from July 11th is to be believed) has dry mass savings up to 30%, which is a big deal.  If they're working with a novel process that relies on the fuel type, then keeping it secret might help keep the tank design secret as well.

All baseless speculation, obviously, but that's par for the course when we have so few details
Engine image from Twitter:-

https://twitter.com/RAeSTimR/status/933344493612556288

Looks like a copper heat sink.
Copied over the high-res image if anyone wants a peek.

I'm guessing the copper is a housing for their cooling system (regen?) rather than an actual heat sink itself, but similar deal.  Also, it could be a diffuser for testing vacuum engines, though I doubt it with that test setup.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline john smith 19

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So was anyone at the RAS presentation last night?
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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 ??? Could Orbex have been testing their engine at Copenhagen Suborbitals?
I think from last year onward a commercial program used the engine stands of Copenhagen suborbitals to test a new engine.

Source: https://twitter.com/RAeSTimR/status/933343225393373184
« Last Edit: 11/24/2017 08:04 AM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline STS-200

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I'm guessing the copper is a housing for their cooling system (regen?) rather than an actual heat sink itself, but similar deal.  Also, it could be a diffuser for testing vacuum engines, though I doubt it with that test setup.

To me, it appears to be a solid heatsink with sets of thermocouples. Not a practical engine, but a good way of testing heat flows, ignition techniques, injectors and possibly combustion stability. A block that size that should be able to run for a couple of seconds.
There is no reason to put a cooling system in a housing, it just makes it heavier
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."

Offline ChrisWilson68

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It's refreshing to see a small launcher start-up doing more and talking less, as we've had so many lately that seem to do the opposite.

Offline Nomic

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Wonder if this is a spin off from KUPG?

Offline john smith 19

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To me, it appears to be a solid heatsink with sets of thermocouples. Not a practical engine, but a good way of testing heat flows, ignition techniques, injectors and possibly combustion stability. A block that size that should be able to run for a couple of seconds.
There is no reason to put a cooling system in a housing, it just makes it heavier
Heatsink engines basically rely on the heat capacity of block of metal they are made out of, hence usually copper.

Being fairly simple to construct they are quick (certainly with modern CNC) to make and good to gather data fairly quickly. You don't get bogged down spending money and time developing the test equipment (IE the engine) rather than the thing you want the information to design in the first place. Adding more sensors is a question of drilling more holes, as there are few if any cooling pipes to get in the way.

1-3 secs may not sound long but this stuff can reach steady state very quickly. That's usually the interesting stuff you want to know about (so you need a lot of fast sensors and plenty of storage, a much easier issue than it was in days past. Beyond that it's just "more of the the same" be it 1 second or 1 minute or 1 hour.
BFS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of flying in Earth and Mars atmospheres. BFR. The worlds biggest Methane fueled FFORSC engined CFRP structured booster for BFS. First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C Apply So, you are going to Mars to start a better life? Picture it in your mind. Now say what it is out loud.

Offline Star One

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More coverage here including an interview with the chief executive  Chris Larmour.

http://spacenews.com/british-company-reveals-details-about-its-smallsat-launch-vehicle/

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