Author Topic: Launcher Space: General Company and Development Updates and Discussions  (Read 53150 times)

Offline Tywin

I open, this new thread about this interesting company, based in NY...The founder is Max Haot

https://launcherspace.com/



They don't have to much information in her website, but in the past, we have some news about her development and new hiring:


https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1060277338255097871

https://spacenews.com/launcher-takes-long-term-view-of-small-launch-market/

They look like don't have rush...

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Haot said that, under current schedules, their vehicle will make a first test flight in 2025 and enter commercial service in 2026. The vehicle has a “conservative” target of placing 300 kilograms into a 200 kilometer orbit.

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Haot said he believes that focusing on performance, rather than rushing into the market with another small launch vehicle, is a better strategy. “We have a very long-term view, 10 to 20 years,” he said. “We don’t believe that the people that got there a few years before will be the winners. We believe that the ones operating with the highest margin will be the winner.”


And now, they claim, have the biggest rocket engine, make in a 3D printed machine...

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/20/brooklyn-rocket-start-up-launcher-gets-largest-single-piece-3d-printed-engine.html

Really interesting this new war, for the rockets in 3D...

Will see...
« Last Edit: 08/07/2019 01:59 am by Andy USA »
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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1098258459508858883

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2024 first test flight target. Commercial/profitable by end of 2026.

Quote from: @13ericralph31
How do you foresee Rocket-1 competing with a small LV industry populated by mature rockets like Electron/Terran/RS-1/LauncherOne? If Rocket Lab is to be believed, individual Electron missions are priced under $10M *already* and cadence aspirations would bring > economies of scale

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1098944051448111105

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Launcher's thesis is that performance-driven design will win over first to market. Same rocket cost and mass -> Less propellant -> more payload -> More revenue potential per launch OR ability to reduce the price to grab market share.

Offline vaporcobra

Damn, I'm loving whoever holds the social media reins at Launcher. A solid dozen or more insightful comments (check their tweet replies) and this updated overview of Rocket-1.

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Updated Rocket-1 spec/target below - 775 kg to 200 km. Same total rocket mass. Engine performance target increased, vehicle mass budget and un-used propellant assumptions slightly more aggressive. It might take a few flights to get there.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1099312754756911104
« Last Edit: 02/23/2019 09:11 pm by vaporcobra »

Offline spacevogel

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1099678085727899648 (and the following thread):

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MILESTONE: Liquid oxygen regenerative cooling proven on our E-1 rocket engine (3D printed in copper alloy). Made by @3TRPD on @EOSNorthAmerica @EOSGmbH M290.

LOX cooling benefits include (a) The ability to use both propellants for cooling in E-2 - thereby increasing coolant budget (b) Larger cooling channels making DMLS powder removal easier (c) Improved injector mixing and resulting improved performance thanks to gaseous oxygen.

Typical regen cooling uses fuel such as kerosene/RP-1. @NASA and Energia have tested LOX cooling and released papers confirming the benefits - but no known production engine uses it yet.

This photo was captured during an oxygen rich transient. It demonstrates the cleaner exhaust of E1-LOXCOOL725 when compared to our previous E-1 version/injector. Video to be released on Monday.

Offline ParabolicSnark

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New website update: https://launcherspace.com/

Few interesting points:
1) They have 4 engines on the first stage and one on the second, all at the same nominal thrust. This is certainly different from the 9/1 ratio you see on the Rocket Lab Electron and SpaceX Falcon 9. This probably explains why the apparent staging ratio seems so off. The vehicle acceleration at SECO has got to be pretty high.
2) They continue to share probably more than they should and have published the state-point diagram in both SI and US Customary units.
3) They're doing ox-rich stage combustion with an LOx-cooled chamber. Material properties are going to clutch here.
4) The two stage fuel pump is pretty uncommon for an RP-1 engine. The second stage only gets 3.5% of the main flow and is primary for the pre-burner with a tapoff leg, probably for trim control or propellant utilization. Normally they would pump up all the fuel to the same pressure and orifice it down. This approach is more efficient, but it does make the turbopump harder.
5) Depending on the shaft speed of the pump, the 20 psi inlet pressure is sporty. Same with the 60 psi at -290F (instead of fully saturated at -297F.
6) "Licensed orbit-proven liquid oxygen pump design".  ??? They're too small for most of the "old space" stuff, and anything from SpaceX and Rocket Lab. "Orbit-proven" nixes Ursa-Major. Maybe something through a partnership with AFRL?

With points #4 and #5, combined with the ox-rich turbine, that is a *hard* turbopump, particularly for your first engine. They've done great things with their (subscale) combustor so I don't want to count them out.
« Last Edit: 08/07/2019 02:02 am by Andy USA »

Offline russianhalo117

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New website update: https://launcherspace.com/

Few interesting points:
1) They have 4 engines on the first stage and one on the second, all at the same nominal thrust. This is certainly different from the 9/1 ratio you see on the Rocket Lab Electron and SpaceX Falcon 9. This probably explains why the apparent staging ratio seems so off. The vehicle acceleration at SECO has got to be pretty high.
2) They continue to share probably more than they should and have published the state-point diagram in both SI and US Customary units.
3) They're doing ox-rich stage combustion with an LOx-cooled chamber. Material properties are going to clutch here.
4) The two stage fuel pump is pretty uncommon for an RP-1 engine. The second stage only gets 3.5% of the main flow and is primary for the pre-burner with a tapoff leg, probably for trim control or propellant utilization. Normally they would pump up all the fuel to the same pressure and orifice it down. This approach is more efficient, but it does make the turbopump harder.
5) Depending on the shaft speed of the pump, the 20 psi inlet pressure is sporty. Same with the 60 psi at -290F (instead of fully saturated at -297F.
6) "Licensed orbit-proven liquid oxygen pump design".  ??? They're too small for most of the "old space" stuff, and anything from SpaceX and Rocket Lab. "Orbit-proven" nixes Ursa-Major. Maybe something through a partnership with AFRL?

With points #4 and #5, combined with the ox-rich turbine, that is a *hard* turbopump, particularly for your first engine. They've done great things with their (subscale) combustor so I don't want to count them out.
This is likely a born out of Ukraine project. The website has grammar and style mistakes indicative of translation although it has been polished a bit so not a machine translation job.

Offline bjartur

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This is likely a born out of Ukraine project. The website has grammar and style mistakes indicative of translation although it has been polished a bit so not a machine translation job.

Having heard Haot speak at length about his long journey towards the launch industry I can assure you it is not. If you are curious to learn more about Launcher, check out the interview episodes he did on the Aerospace Engineering podcast, Prehype, or The Prepared. Haot began with a particular business case and a long-standing desire to enter the launch industry--their Ukrainian engineer/designer, Nikischenko, did not join until well after Launcher was founded & funded. Only one of their five employees is a native English speaker (and only one of those five is Ukrainian), which, although interesting for an American firm, certainly does not make them a Ukrainian shell company.

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twitter.com/launcher/status/1176199852407099392

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More 💎💎💎🚀. To further reduce the cost of 3D printing our highest performance copper alloy engines - we more than doubled the powder layer thickness and as a result sped up the 3D printing time by more than 2X. Made possible by AMCM and @3t_am_ltd on an @EOSGmbH 3D printer.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1176199858878853122

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In this test last week, we proved that with this new process, we can reach the highest performance mix ratio (2.62) at 98%+ efficiency.

Offline starbase

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bit.ly/SpaceLaunchCalendar ☆ bit.ly/SpaceEventCalendar

Offline Tywin

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Offline GreenShrike

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Nice Engine!

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1193724586879340546

Certainly looks nice.

Follow up says it's ORSC, not an expander. It has about 1/10th the output of a Merlin-vac -- that's a small engine for staged combustion!

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1193950035651768325


It would be interesting to contrast this engine against Masten's Broadsword -- a 25k lbf (SL) / 35k lbf (vac) dual-expander methalox engine. Similar sizes, but rather different paths to get there.
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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1216825611341258752

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The first public opening to join the @launcher team: Propulsion Test Engineer to help us build and test the Launcher E-2 liquid 🚀 engine. Apply: linkedin.com/jobs/view/1645… #propulsion

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1250149968754638848

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Launcher has signed a Space Act Agreement with @NASAStennis to locate our full-scale test fire facility at Stennis. The first campaign is expected this summer as part of our @AF_SBIR_STTR  contract to test-fire our 22k lbf thrust E-2 engine.

https://spacenews.com/launcher-to-test-engines-at-stennis/

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1254791766147989505

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The test stand frame for Launcher E-2 is ready to be powder coated. Thanks to our partner millermetal.com for their great work.

Offline CameronD

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1250149968754638848

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Launcher has signed a Space Act Agreement with @NASAStennis to locate our full-scale test fire facility at Stennis. The first campaign is expected this summer as part of our @AF_SBIR_STTR  contract to test-fire our 22k lbf thrust E-2 engine.

What are those blocks they're using for blast protection?
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline ParabolicSnark

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What are those blocks they're using for blast protection?

Those just look like pre-fab concrete blocks (something like these). A lot of companies have been using them for quickly building blast walls or flame trenches. Heck, the bulk of Rocket Lab's primary stand structure appears to be made from them.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1261425386115616768

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Launcher E-2 - the world largest single part 3D printed combustion chamber is ready for nitrogen, liquid nitrogen and water cleaning followed by a water cold flow session.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1267879323547193344

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This week we have also started the E-2 🚀 engine combustion chamber and injector heat treatment processes at our partner Accurate Brazing (accuratebrazing.com). Step 1: Stress relief in a vacuum furnace. Next : Cut the chamber off the plate by wire edm followed by HIP.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1270714384973783040

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The Launcher E-2 3D printed 🚀 engine combustion chamber is back home at @Newlab - Next steps: complete taps with @FlexArmInc, machining the flange, cooling channels chemical etching and polishing the inner wall.

Offline ParabolicSnark

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Are all those propellant ports NPT? I'm estimating they're about 2" NPT. In the photo where it's still copper, they've got NPT to Quick-Clamp flanges (like these on McMaster-Carr).

I'm surprised they would select NPT over a straight-thread solution. While NPT is rated for the pressure, the quality of the seal on the threads, even with pipe tape, is pretty bad, particularly for cryogenics. Straight-thread solutions seal on a dedicated seal and are much more reliable.

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Launcher moves on to develop avionics for its satellite delivery system
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Now the company is ready to move on to the next stage: avionics, and to do so, having established a valid and credible proposition, it was able to attract NASA JPL & SpaceX veterans Kevin Watson and Rich Petras.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1275480524610514947?s=20

That's the last tweet in a thread from the Launcher twitter page. Basically, they've made a public launch-vehicle calculator, very similar to Silverbird; my guess is someone got board during quarantine, although they have a lot of justification for it in the thread.

Interestingly, in the "Select Rocket" menu, there are a number of notional Launcher rockets aside from Rocket-1, including "Launcher XL", with 9 E-2's on the first stage, "Launcher Light", with a single E-2 on the first stage, and "Launcher Nano", which would be the smallest orbital rocket ever. The XL would put 2 metric tons into a 200 km orbit, the light would put 149 kg into the same orbit, and the Nano would put up merely 1.2 kg.

Interestingly, the default launch site is Wallops, which perhaps suggests that's where they think they'll be launching from?

Of course, there's a lot of stuff we could read into here that should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I don't think they're actually considering building any rocket but Rocket-1. It's interesting that they've thought about it though.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2020 11:30 pm by JEF_300 »
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Online edzieba

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Are all those propellant ports NPT? I'm estimating they're about 2" NPT. In the photo where it's still copper, they've got NPT to Quick-Clamp flanges (like these on McMaster-Carr).
Looks like they are indeed NPT. Source is an unusual one: you can watch the adapter for the tap being machined here (along with a 3D view of the tapping jig): https://youtube.com/watch?v=me9n5830t74

I do agree it's odd they'd choose NPT when they have the choice of literally every other thread-form.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1285955341503651840

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Launcher’s first ever E-2 🚀 engine turbo pump hardware arrived. 3D printed in Inconel 718 on @Velo_3D machine by @Protolabs 🙏. Discharge pressure of 4,130 psi (285 bar) for oxidizer rich staged combustion. Design heritage licensed by Launcher and proven 70+ times to orbit.

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https://twitter.com/spaceintellige3/status/1303794049242062849

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Successful test of our E-2 🚀 engine igniter - an important milestone in preparation to our E-2 test campaign.

twitter.com/launcher/status/1303659178645430276

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A challenging design as our GOX/Kerosene igniter nozzle reaches nearly 1,800F while traversing our liquid oxygen dome. This test proved that we could run the igniter for five seconds, while having 1,200psi liquid oxygen in the dome (behind this mockup injector plate shown)

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1303659179605925894

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We were happy to confirm during repeated tests that no oxygen/heat/pressure related explosion occurred.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1306004614794350593

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Launcher E-2 3D printed copper alloy combustion chamber polishing done ✅. One step closer to its first test fire 🔥 🚀. Next step - shipping to @NASAStennis

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1309158126789300224

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Launcher E-2 liquid 🚀 engine thrust chamber assembly in position at @nasastennis. Getting ready for LN2 cold flow tomorrow morning. E-2 is the world’s largest single-part 3D printed combustion chamber.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1309167639307182082?s=20

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ORSC but this first test campaign is pressure fed.

I guess they want to test the combustion chamber before they assemble the whole engine, so they're just pressure feeding propellent for the initial tests.
« Last Edit: 09/25/2020 06:42 am by JEF_300 »
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1309617154954756096

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Launcher E-2 test stand activation and LN2 cold flow testing started today at @NASAStennis . We can’t wait for the 🔥version.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1311461603544428545

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Launcher E-2 - 22.000-lbf thrust 3D printed liquid 🚀 engine (kerolox). Fully plumbed on its test stand at @nasastennis. Actual first stage nozzle size and expansion ratio. Test fire getting very close.

Online LouScheffer

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[...] They continue to share probably more than they should and have published the state-point diagram [...]
This is, to my mind, an incorrect (but very common) attitude.  The problem is not that someone will steal your idea, the problem is convincing people your idea is good.

Pretty much every group that has the competence to build an oxygen-rich staged-combustion engine also has their own opinion on how this should be done.  Furthermore, they think their way is best - that's why they chose it.  They won't change their design based on looking at anyone else's - at most they will rationalize why theirs is better, if they consider it at all.

Similarly, I rail against this attitude in science all the time.  Folks sit on their data until they have squeezed every bit of interpretation out of it, worried that someone else will see their data, make some major discovery, and rush it into publication before the original experimenter.  This particular paranoid fantasy is normally expressed in terms of a grad student having his work ninja'd just as s/he is about to submit their thesis.  However, in reality, anyone with the skill and means to analyze a complex data set is already doing so on their own data, and is not going to drop that to work on yours. 

We've seen with COVID how fast research can go when every group publishes whatever they know as soon as they know it.  And despite this avalanche of preliminary data, almost no-one has gotten "scooped" by someone else analyzing their data faster than they can.  This makes perfect sense since the original source group is also analyzing as fast as possible.

So overall, I have no worries about Launcher Space publishing.  It will help them far more by establishing credibility than it will hurt them by someone stealing their secrets.


Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline Davidthefat

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Keep in mind the engine cycle they are running; they need a gas at the oxidizer inlet of the main injector (usually downstream of the turbine from the preburner through the hot gas manifold).

Interesting to see they don't seen to have any variable volume acoustic chambers shown in the heat sink chamber.

Offline playadelmars

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Looks like they got it started. Smoke cloud at end but otherwise good not to hard start for first test.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/maxhaot_launcher-e-2-is-born-at-nasa-national-aeronautics-ugcPost-6723100182549975040-iikH

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1317332635056820226

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Launcher E-2 is born at @NASAStennis - More soon!

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twitter.com/launcher/status/1317477614014074881

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Photos by @johnkrausphotos of our first ever Launcher E-2 🚀 engine ignition (3 sec ‘burp’) at @NASAStennis yesterday. Great result, the hardware passed the test and is ready for test #2 next week.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1317477617436590086

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In the next two weeks, we will build up duration and then replace the heat sink chamber used in this test with the actual world largest 3D printed single piece combustion chamber (with actual flight size nozzle).
« Last Edit: 10/17/2020 02:55 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1318912157073985537

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Successful Launcher E-2 test #2 (2s burp). Next step: Replace the heat sink chamber with the 3D printed thrust chamber assembly and test. Stay tuned! 🚀🔥

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This is exciting. Anyone know of any other printer copper chambers in testing before this?

Offline Davidthefat

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This is exciting. Anyone know of any other printer copper chambers in testing before this?

Yes, Launcher did put a flame sprayed inconel jacket over a printed copper liner in the previous chamber.

Aerojet Rocketdyne did a redesign of the RL10 (RL10C-X) that included a printed copper chamber. (https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/04/08/1798869/0/en/3-D-Printed-RL10C-X-Prototype-Rocket-Engine-Soars-Through-Initial-Round-of-Testing.html)

NASA Marshall did small scale printed copper chamber tests in collaboration with Virgin Orbit (https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/nasa-and-virgin-orbit-3d-print-multimetallic-chamber-for-rocket-engine-156409/)


I think some universities have tried printed copper chambers, but not sure.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2020 04:19 pm by Davidthefat »

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https://twitter.com/johnkrausphotos/status/1325837736377462788

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A new photo by me for @launcher — The first test fire of the full E-2 thrust chamber assembly, with a flight-sized nozzle, conducted last month at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.

Read + see more in @arstechnica’s feature:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/meet-launcher-a-company-building-a-rocket-engine-with-eight-employees/

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Meet Launcher, the rocket engine builder with just eight employees
The company is making progress, completing a series of component tests in October.

by Eric Berger - Nov 9, 2020 2:40pm GMT

Max Haot is not your typical rocket scientist, and Launcher is not your typical rocket company.

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https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/meet-launcher-a-company-building-a-rocket-engine-with-eight-employees/

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Meet Launcher, the rocket engine builder with just eight employees
The company is making progress, completing a series of component tests in October.

by Eric Berger - Nov 9, 2020 2:40pm GMT

Max Haot is not your typical rocket scientist, and Launcher is not your typical rocket company.
That article has some new details about the outcome of their recent tests, which I haven't seen reported elsewhere:
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In 2019, the company built and tested a small prototype engine, "E-1." This was largely successful, so last month, the company took the first components of its E-2 engine to a test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. During the first two series of tests, Launcher proved that the test stand and its fuel injector, which mixes liquid oxygen and kerosene, performed well. The third test was to assess performance of the engine's 3D printed combustion chamber, where the fuels burn. This test did not go as well because three of the regenerative cooling channels were clogged and the chamber overheated.

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Start of twitter thread on recent testing

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1326543821916680202

Quote
Launcher E-2 test fire #3 on Oct. 23, 2020 at @NASAStennis (3D printed in Copper alloy, 22k-lbf thrust LOX/RP1 liquid 🚀 engine). Featuring a full scale engine nozzle for flight (First stage). Made possible with support from @DoDSpaceForce @AF_SBIR_STTR @AFWERX SBIR award.

End of thread:

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1326543876916588545

Quote
Up next at Launcher: E-2 LOX pump and turbine unit test (being developed in parallel).

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1338848496930189314

Quote
Our new Launcher E-2 liquid 🚀 engine test stand at @NASAStennis. A key facility and milestone for Launcher in 2020. We can’t wait to resume testing in early 2021 with E-2 combustion chamber SN2 and SN3 on hand.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/meet-launcher-a-company-building-a-rocket-engine-with-eight-employees/

Quote
Meet Launcher, the rocket engine builder with just eight employees
The company is making progress, completing a series of component tests in October.

by Eric Berger - Nov 9, 2020 2:40pm GMT

Max Haot is not your typical rocket scientist, and Launcher is not your typical rocket company.

Something I didn't realize from that article back in November, and that I don't see acknowledged here, is that at the end Eric seems to say that Launcher Light will be their first rocket, not Rocket-1. There's even a render.



Launcher Light is a concept we first saw on their LV calculator last summer. It uses 1x E-2 engine on the first stage instead of 4, for 149 kg to orbit.

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https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/meet-launcher-a-company-building-a-rocket-engine-with-eight-employees/

Quote
Meet Launcher, the rocket engine builder with just eight employees
The company is making progress, completing a series of component tests in October.

by Eric Berger - Nov 9, 2020 2:40pm GMT

Max Haot is not your typical rocket scientist, and Launcher is not your typical rocket company.

Something I didn't realize from that article back in November, and that I don't see acknowledged here, is that at the end Eric seems to say that Launcher Light will be their first rocket, not Rocket-1. There's even a render.

Launcher Light is a concept we first saw on their LV calculator last summer. It uses 1x E-2 engine on the first stage instead of 4, for 149 kg to orbit.

Interestingly, their calculator suggests that "Launcher Light" will have three stages, and use a pressure-fed kerolox engine on stage two (and a separate pressure-fed keroxide engine for the third stage). I assume that third-stage engine is something new, but is the second-stage engine also distinct (perhaps Engine-1?), or just Engine-2 without the staged combustion?

Also, they're really on top of that calculator project, they already have numbers for Rocket Lab's Neutron. I half-expect them to mock up numbers for Terran R at this rate.  :D

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1372618087036416002

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Our first vehicle tank aluminum panel. Launcher is an engine first company - however, now is the time to start in parallel our structures design and manufacturing process development. 🚀

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1372618087036416002

Quote
Our first vehicle tank aluminum panel. Launcher is an engine first company - however, now is the time to start in parallel our structures design and manufacturing process development. 🚀

Orthogrid, rather than hoop-and-stringer? Bold move -- ULA is doing that on Vulcan because it's the absolute highest performance and lowest weight, but it's also quite expensive and hand-crafted: even if the structure itself is CNCed, apparently bending the pieces is a labor-intensive manual process. Doesn't seem like a great choice for a company that wants to reduce the cost of access to space, or which is using a high-performance staged combustion engine to maybe not require everything else be maximally optimized too.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1372618087036416002

Quote
Our first vehicle tank aluminum panel. Launcher is an engine first company - however, now is the time to start in parallel our structures design and manufacturing process development. 🚀

Orthogrid, rather than hoop-and-stringer? Bold move -- ULA is doing that on Vulcan because it's the absolute highest performance and lowest weight, but it's also quite expensive and hand-crafted: even if the structure itself is CNCed, apparently bending the pieces is a labor-intensive manual process. Doesn't seem like a great choice for a company that wants to reduce the cost of access to space, or which is using a high-performance staged combustion engine to maybe not require everything else be maximally optimized too.

But it's very much in line with the perhaps the core principle of their design philosophy which is, to quote the biggest text on screen when you first enter their site, "Performance will in the small rocket race". Their belief is that a well managed company operating the highest performance and most efficient rocket is going to beat out competitors. I don't know what brought them to that conclusion, but that's their whole thing.
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But it's very much in line with the perhaps the core principle of their design philosophy which is, to quote the biggest text on screen when you first enter their site, "Performance will in the small rocket race". Their belief is that a well managed company operating the highest performance and most efficient rocket is going to beat out competitors. I don't know what brought them to that conclusion, but that's their whole thing.

It's funny actually, a common thought about "how should you compete against SpaceX?" is "forget short-term profitability, forget about matching where SpaceX is today, build a vehicle which can compete with what SpaceX will have in a decade, and hope that when they get there, you'll have leapfrogged them." In a sense, this is Launcher's philosophy: don't match what the market has now, arrange such that even with years of iterative improvement, your competitors will all be bogged down by their early design decisions that didn't have a proper upgrade path, while you designed for the best version from the get-go.

I'm somewhat skeptical that you can get to that ideal, optimal vehicle without years of flying a less-optimized version to truly understand what needs improvement, but it just might be crazy enough to work.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2021 11:16 pm by trimeta »

But it's very much in line with the perhaps the core principle of their design philosophy which is, to quote the biggest text on screen when you first enter their site, "Performance will in the small rocket race". Their belief is that a well managed company operating the highest performance and most efficient rocket is going to beat out competitors. I don't know what brought them to that conclusion, but that's their whole thing.

It's funny actually, a common thought about "how should you compete against SpaceX?" is "forget short-term profitability, forget about matching where SpaceX is today, build a vehicle which can compete with what SpaceX will have in a decade, and hope that when they get there, you'll have leapfrogged them." In a sense, this is Launcher's philosophy: don't match what the market has now, arrange such that even with years of iterative improvement, your competitors will all be bogged down by their early design decisions that didn't have a proper upgrade path, while you designed for the best version from the get-go.

I'm somewhat skeptical that you can get to that ideal, optimal vehicle without years of flying a less-optimized version to truly understand what needs improvement, but it just might be crazy enough to work.

I agree. Though, if Launcher is successful, the thing I'll point to isn't their design, but their small team size. Most of the developments cost of any launch vehicle of course goes to paying the engineers. Launcher managed to develop their engine with, I believe, 15 employees. I expect when all is said and done, Launcher will have developed the most efficient small-sat launcher in the world for less than anyone else.
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twitter.com/launcher/status/1373011387937562625

Quote
It spins! Launcher E-2 3D printed staged combustion LOX pump is fully assembled and ready to be mated to our turbine for testing at @nasastennis in April.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1373011389845934081

Quote
Specs: 25 kg/s driven by 1MW power, 275 Bar outlet pressure, 30,000 RPM. We have not yet seen anyone in the small launch community attempting a pump spec close to that.

twitter.com/lars_0/status/1373322538101530624

Quote
Those fasteners look shiny enough to be 300 series stainless steel.

If they are the yield strength is only 30ksi

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1373713640973508610

Quote
Not stainless steel - a high-strength alloy is required.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1375454244673753089

Quote
BIG NEWS: We’ve moved to Los Angeles (Hawthorne) and are opening our HQ & Factory

https://spacenews.com/launcher-opens-california-facility-to-develop-small-launch-vehicle/

Quote
Launcher opens California facility to develop small launch vehicle
by Jeff Foust — March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle company Launcher has moved across the country to California as it takes its next steps in the development of its rocket.

Launcher, which had been based in New York City, is in the process of moving into a 24,000-square-foot building it is leasing in Hawthorne, California, a few blocks from the sprawling headquarters of SpaceX.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1375454244673753089

Quote
BIG NEWS: We’ve moved to Los Angeles (Hawthorne) and are opening our HQ & Factory

https://spacenews.com/launcher-opens-california-facility-to-develop-small-launch-vehicle/

Quote
Launcher opens California facility to develop small launch vehicle
by Jeff Foust — March 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle company Launcher has moved across the country to California as it takes its next steps in the development of its rocket.

Launcher, which had been based in New York City, is in the process of moving into a 24,000-square-foot building it is leasing in Hawthorne, California, a few blocks from the sprawling headquarters of SpaceX.

Pretty exciting to see them move to their own space.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1375456710333067265?s=20

That tweet provides some good images, including renders of tanks. That top right image is especially good, because it provides a good render of the engine, and makes it look like we're talking about tanks sized for 1x E-2 engine, aka a "Launcher Light".
« Last Edit: 03/26/2021 04:06 pm by JEF_300 »
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Online TrevorMonty



https://spacenews.com/launcher-opens-california-facility-to-develop-small-launch-vehicle/

Quote from Spacenews article
"
Launcher, though, is sticking to a schedule that calls for beginning test launches in 2024 and moving into commercial service in 2026, several years after many of its competitors. Haot said he believe the market for small launch vehicles will remain strong for the foreseeable future, and that Launcher will be competitive based on the high efficiency of its E-2 engine.
"
I wish them good luck but think they have uphill battle. By time they enter market in mid 20s the competition will be well established and in lot cases flying RLVs.





Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk


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https://spacenews.com/launcher-opens-california-facility-to-develop-small-launch-vehicle/

Quote from Spacenews article
"
Launcher, though, is sticking to a schedule that calls for beginning test launches in 2024 and moving into commercial service in 2026, several years after many of its competitors. Haot said he believe the market for small launch vehicles will remain strong for the foreseeable future, and that Launcher will be competitive based on the high efficiency of its E-2 engine.
"
I wish them good luck but think they have uphill battle. By time they enter market in mid 20s the competition will be well established and in lot cases flying RLVs.

Their one advantage is extremely low headcount -- at present, just 20 people, 10 of whom are in Ukraine. So maybe they can survive long enough to actually reach launch purely on the virtue of "not running out of money." Although, in this article their CEO described their recent Series A round as "not enough to get us to orbit," so not spending too much money will apparently need to be coupled with "bringing in more money." If there's a "winnowing" of the launch market between now and 2024, that might become increasingly difficult.

Side-note: is their "Launcher Light" vehicle going to have one E-2 engine on its first stage and also one E-2 engine on its second stage? That would be a very unusual architecture, to my knowledge; I thought having a second stage with 11% or less the thrust of the first stage was much more common.

Edit: Oh right, I think I asked this question before, and then noticed that on their own launch calculator, they seem to be showing Launcher Light as being a three-stage vehicle with a separate pressure-fed kerolox second stage and a pressure-fed keroxide third stage. We can probably assume that the third stage is a kick stage, and that both second and third stages are unique engines with minimal heritage between themselves or the E-2 engine.
« Last Edit: 03/26/2021 07:38 pm by trimeta »

https://spacenews.com/launcher-opens-california-facility-to-develop-small-launch-vehicle/

Quote from Spacenews article
"
Launcher, though, is sticking to a schedule that calls for beginning test launches in 2024 and moving into commercial service in 2026, several years after many of its competitors. Haot said he believe the market for small launch vehicles will remain strong for the foreseeable future, and that Launcher will be competitive based on the high efficiency of its E-2 engine.
"
I wish them good luck but think they have uphill battle. By time they enter market in mid 20s the competition will be well established and in lot cases flying RLVs.

Their one advantage is extremely low headcount -- at present, just 20 people, 10 of whom are in Ukraine. So maybe they can survive long enough to actually reach launch purely on the virtue of "not running out of money." Although, in this article their CEO described their recent Series A round as "not enough to get us to orbit," so not spending too much money will apparently need to be coupled with "bringing in more money." If there's a "winnowing" of the launch market between now and 2024, that might become increasingly difficult.

Side-note: is their "Launcher Light" vehicle going to have one E-2 engine on its first stage and also one E-2 engine on its second stage? That would be a very unusual architecture, to my knowledge; I thought having a second stage with 11% or less the thrust of the first stage was much more common.

One E-2 on the first stage, and pressure fed engines on the upper stages. Apparently, it will be a 3 stage rocket, which I suppose could make sense if you're going super tiny and expendable.
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One E-2 on the first stage, and pressure fed engines on the upper stages. Apparently, it will be a 3 stage rocket, which I suppose could make sense if you're going super tiny and expendable.

Sorry, I should have checked their own sources properly before asking the question.

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The facility renders look great, but that location is too small for them to get them to orbit. It looks like it has plenty of space, but it doesn't include any inventory systems, inspection areas, test areas, and is very light on integration tooling. That said, it will certainty get them much needed space and give them room for growth in the coming years. I'm sure there are more buildings in the area they can expand to when they need the additional floor space.

Are they still going to be testing at Stennis? That's a long haul but I guess no worse than what they're currently dealing with. This scale engine would work pretty well at Mojave or AFRL.

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One thing that sticks out to me about these guys is that if you go on linkedin their entire propulsion design office is in Ukraine. They are hiring for hardware/manufacturing/test type engineers in Hawthorne but it appears that most design/analysis activities are taking place in Ukraine.

The average aero/mechanical type engineer salary in Ukraine is around $10,000 a year! Propulsion Engineers starting at SpaceX get around 80-90K. You can get 9 Ukrainian experienced engineers for the price of one SpaceX new grad!

This is an interesting competitive advantage if done correctly. They can farm out a lot of expert and rote engineering labor to Ukraine at very budget prices. I'm also curious as to how much of their rocket they can manufacture in Ukraine at budget prices. Ukraine has a lot of advanced aerospace industry and knowledge at labor rates that are an order of magnitude less than in the states.


One thing that sticks out to me about these guys is that if you go on linkedin their entire propulsion design office is in Ukraine. They are hiring for hardware/manufacturing/test type engineers in Hawthorne but it appears that most design/analysis activities are taking place in Ukraine.

Does it appear that way? Because I was under the impression that all their Ukrainian personnel were living and working in the US.
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One thing that sticks out to me about these guys is that if you go on linkedin their entire propulsion design office is in Ukraine. They are hiring for hardware/manufacturing/test type engineers in Hawthorne but it appears that most design/analysis activities are taking place in Ukraine.

Does it appear that way? Because I was under the impression that all their Ukrainian personnel were living and working in the US.

If you go to their website (https://launcherspace.com/contact) they say they have a fully owned subsidiary in Dnipro Ukraine.

It says:
'Our team of engineers employed full-time at Launcher Ukraine LLC is permitted to contribute to our Launcher E-2 engine design and analysis with the support of a U.S. State Department-approved Technology Assistance Agreement.'

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One thing that sticks out to me about these guys is that if you go on linkedin their entire propulsion design office is in Ukraine. They are hiring for hardware/manufacturing/test type engineers in Hawthorne but it appears that most design/analysis activities are taking place in Ukraine.

Does it appear that way? Because I was under the impression that all their Ukrainian personnel were living and working in the US.

If you go to their website (https://launcherspace.com/contact) they say they have a fully owned subsidiary in Dnipro Ukraine.

It says:
'Our team of engineers employed full-time at Launcher Ukraine LLC is permitted to contribute to our Launcher E-2 engine design and analysis with the support of a U.S. State Department-approved Technology Assistance Agreement.'


Sounds like Rocket Lab

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1385001402041356289

Quote
If you enjoyed last week’s 10 sec, 10% power E-2 LOX turbopump test video, here’s our drop of the full duration (2 minutes) 100% power successful test of the same turbopump 🚀🚀🚀🌀🌀🌀

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1394520823977807873

Quote
MILESTONE: Our first tool in our new HQ Factory is operational. Cutting Launcher E-2 🚀 engine combustion chamber off its 3D printer build plate. Touch-less precision metal cutting by electrical sparks⚡️⚡️⚡️— in water. EDM wire machine by @SodickUSA

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twitter.com/launcher/status/1394571256222011403

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In 2017, the industry needed a 3D printing breakthrough to print larger liquid rocket engines. To meet the challenge, we partnered with AMCM to create the M 4K  3D printer for printing our E-2 liquid 🚀 engine chamber as a single part in copper alloy. https://amcm.com/news/2021-05-18-launcher-acquires-amcm-m-4k-am-system

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1394571259376128002

Quote
We now purchased the printer system so that we can 3D print the Launcher E-2 rocket engine ourselves at our new Launcher HQ in Hawthorne, CA.

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« Last Edit: 06/02/2021 02:31 pm by Navier–Stokes »

Highlights from that article above.

They have definitely transitioned to having "Launcher Light", the vehicle with a single E-2 on the first stage, as the rocket they intend to launch in 2024.

Have spent about $1.5 million per year so far ($6 million). Intend to spend about $10 million a year between now and first launch. Presumably this covers the factory costs and the pad costs, along with the expansion from 30 to 70 to 150 employees.

That leaves them at around $46 million dollars spent by the end of 2024, fitting with Haot's claim (according to the article) that he wishes to reach first launch with "a total budget of $50 million".

"Reaching orbit with a budget of $50 million would be about half that expended by Rocket Lab and still less than other small launch competitors."
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They have an incredible team, which should be fully capable of not only overcoming the technical challenges before them, but overachieving. I have full faith that they will reach orbit in 2024. My only real concern on that front was funding, but this funding round and their continued ability to keep dev costs low mostly erases my doubts.

I guess my main question continues to be how they're going to fair when they actually hit the market. Sure, they'll have the best payload ratio in class; so what? Are low dev costs and efficiency really going to be enough to compete with the extremely low prices that Astra is gunning for and that reusable smallsat launchers like Electron may be able to achieve?

Honestly the only thing I can think of that they could maybe do to compete would be to make an SSTO. Put that efficiency to good use, and save on an upper stage. But that would come with plenty of problems of it's own.
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I guess my main question continues to be how they're going to fair when they actually hit the market. Sure, they'll have the best payload ratio in class; so what? Are low dev costs and efficiency really going to be enough to compete with the extremely low prices that Astra is gunning for and that reusable smallsat launchers like Electron may be able to achieve?

Agreed. I love what Launcher has been able to achieve and am very eager to see where they go and how they develop. I'm concerned that while their engineering is impressive, that it's too little, too late for the business case to sustain them. As engineers we have soft spots for companies like this and tend to be blind that a quality product isn't the only requirement to have a successful business.

Time will tell how they stack up when some of these other small launch vehicles enter operations.

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https://spacenews.com/launcher-to-develop-orbital-transfer-vehicle/

Quote
Launcher to develop orbital transfer vehicle
by Jeff Foust — June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle company Launcher announced June 15 that it is also working on an orbital transfer vehicle for small satellites that it plans to use on both its own rocket as well as SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

Launcher, which announced a $11.7 million funding round June 2, said its Orbiter tug will be able to carry up to 150 kilograms of payload, either in the form of 90 units worth of cubesat deployers or larger satellites using standard smallsat separation systems.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1413537301368643587

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This is the first part we 3D printed at our new Launcher HQ and Factory: Orbiter propellant tank. @VELO3DMetal

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1428771581925335041

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Back in the game - Launcher E-2 3D printed liquid rocket engine is in position for an upcoming test fire at @NASAStennis 🚀

Online TrevorMonty



https://launcherspace.com/orbiter

Launcher are doing things in reverse for small LV company. They are starting with kickstage called orbiter which will carry upto 150kgs of smallest and cubesats with DV of 500m/s. Plan to rideshare on F9 in 2022. In 2024 introduce Launcher Light a 150kg LV, which can also deliver Orbiter to space.
Just like RL Photon Orbiter's configuration and tankage can change depending on mission.

I think their approach is great idea, a OTV is lot quicker and cheaper to develop than LV allowing for earlier revenue stream while LV is in development.

« Last Edit: 09/29/2021 06:06 pm by TrevorMonty »

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https://twitter.com/martinmgl/status/1450492208054882310
Quote
Some more work I did for @launcher, featuring Launcher Light, a dedicated small satellite launch vehicle. Powered by a single Launcher Engine-2 on its first stage, Launcher Light will deliver satellite payloads of up to 150 kg (330 lbs) to low Earth orbit.  First launch in 2024.

Some updates from the past two months.

First of all, they apparently completed all of their LOX turbopump testing:
https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1472084055113961477?s=20

Second of all, the website has been updated: https://www.launcherspace.com
https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1473106213168504833?s=20

And third, we have Max Haot will be talking about the company at LA hardware meetup, tomorrow: https://www.meetup.com/la-hardware/events/283165966/
https://twitter.com/maxhaot/status/1480990645497982979?s=20
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Looking at the new site, this is the first thing you see:


Lots to unpack in there, particularly the phrase, "rideshare when you can", and talk of launching Orbiter on Falcon 9.
It goes further than just the video though; when you start scrolling down, the first vehicle listed is Orbiter, which apparently will have it's first flight this year. Then after you scroll past it, only then do you see the Launcher Light, still set for 2024.

On the Orbiter page, "Rideshare when you can, Dedicated when you need it", as well as "Don't be forced to choose between rideshare and dedicated launch -- Orbiter positions your satellite exactly where you need it, in the most cost-effective way possible. Same vehicle, same service, same team."

So their pitch seems to be, 'Just hire us, and we'll get it there as cheap as possible, even if that means buying a seat on a Falcon 9 rather than using our own rocket.'

It's an interesting change in tactic, which does seem to resolve my main concerns about the company.


We also have specific performance specs for Launch Light:
Payload to LEO: 150 kg (330 lbs)
Payload to SSO: 105 kg (231 lbs)
Height: 15.2m (50ft)
Diameter: 1.1m (3.6ft)
Liftoff mass: 8,342 kg (18,390 lbs)
Stages: 3 (Orbiter is being counted as the 3rd)

And updated specs for E-2, though they seem mostly the same:
Thrust: 10 ton-force / 22,400 lbf
Propellant: LOX / RP-1
Cycle: Staged combustion
Specific impulse: 327 s (vac)
Chamber pressure: 100 bar / 1,400 psi
Mixture ratio: 2.62
Production: Mostly 3D printed
Chamber material: Copper alloy
« Last Edit: 01/25/2022 08:25 pm by JEF_300 »
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1486180372383617025?s=20

Quote
Check this transparent plume. The first test of our Orbiter engine: Thrust 240-lbf, Propellants: nitrous oxide/ethane gas stored as liquid, self pressurized. Spark igniter. Oxidizer regen cooling in 3D printed inconel chamber. 280s vac ISP target. More to come soon.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1488339942312796164
Quote
A forest of small Rocket engines: Twelve Orbiter combustion chambers off the @VELO3DMetal printer and ready for EDM wire. Testing soon in Mojave. #rapiditeration #3dprinting

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1492537734308663299

Quote
E-2 - Making steady progress in developing world’s highest performance liquid 🚀 engine of its class. Goal: lox/rp1, thrust 22k lbf (10tf), mix ratio 2.62, 1400 psi (100 bar) pressure, closed cycle, no throat film cooling, lox cooled, 3D printed. 365s ISP with vac nozzle

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1510016636132098048

Quote
🚀🚀🚀 Today’s E-2 test fire at @NASAStennis reaching 8.6 metric ton of thrust (goal 10) at 2.4 o/f ratio (goal 2.62) and 90 bar of pressure (goal 100 bar). Very close to reaching and maybe exceeding our nominal goals in the next test series. #loxcooled #3dprinted


https://twitter.com/maxhaot/status/1510019060435611649

Quote
With an incredible team, partners, and a few design iterations - perseverance and focus won once again. We are steps away from demonstrating the world's highest performance combustion chamber of its class - thanks to LOX cooling. And lowest cost thanks to 3D printing.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1516250800284073990

Quote
Launcher E-2 liquid 🚀 engine in position for more testing this week at @NASAStennis. Goal : attempts at reaching nominal highest performance o/f mixture ratio (2.62), pressure (100 bar) and thrust (10tf).

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1521971316181581826

Quote
Launcher E-2 3D printed 🚀 engine photos by @johnkrausphotos from today’s performance boost testing. Efficiency increase in action to the point the plume is transparent. We continue to push today with 2-3 more tests at higher mixture ratio.

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https://spacenews.com/launcher-wins-space-force-contract-to-support-engine-development/

Quote
Launcher wins Space Force contract to support engine development
by Jeff Foust — May 25, 2022

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — Launcher won a $1.7 million contract from the U.S. Space Force that will assist the company’s development of a high-performance rocket engine for its small launch vehicle.

Offline Dmitry_V_home

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Oxygen-kerosene LRE efficiency rating from Launcherspace

Offline su27k

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1539627919189823488

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MILESTONE: Orbiter SN1 is ready for vibration testing. This is our first ever spacecraft – designed, manufactured, and integrated at Launcher HQ.

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Neat, 3D printed tanks. Maybe they'll launch the first 3D printed tank into orbit, and beat Relativity to the punch?

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twitter.com/launcher/status/1552801397854203905

Quote
Today, we successfully performed the Orbiter SN1 post vibration testing separation system test ✅

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1552801403638231040

Quote
We then confirmed that Orbiter’s satellite bus powered on successfully after separation ✅🛰🚀

Online TrevorMonty

« Last Edit: 08/06/2022 03:58 am by zubenelgenubi »

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1566100285390393344

Quote
Our Launcher E-2 closed cycle 🚀 engine turbopump is ready for testing for the @SpaceForceDoD. 3D printed, 1.4 megawatt of power, 30,000 rpm, one turbine, one lox pump, two kerosene pumps, 320 bar of output pressure in this single shaft small package.

Offline Rondaz

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For context, the turbopump assembly integrates on the side of the E-2 3D printed copper alloy combustion chamber. Thrust is 10 tf (22,000 lbf).

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1566100304566792193

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1571009233793187841

Quote
Our Launcher E-2 closed cycle 🚀 engine turbopump is integrated for testing this week at NASA Stennis (for the U.S. Space Force). 3D printed, 1.4 megawatt of power, 30k rpm, one turbine, one lox pump, two kerosene pumps, 320 bar output pressure in a single shaft package.

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https://www.launcherspace.com/updates/launcher-awarded-u-s-space-force-spacewerx-orbital-prime-contract

Quote
Launcher awarded U.S. Space Force SpaceWERX Orbital Prime Contract

Hawthorne, California
September 30, 2022

Launcher has been awarded a Phase 1 STTR under the SpaceWERX Orbital Prime Program

HAWTHORNE, CA, September 30, 2022 – Launcher, together with their partners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, announces it has been selected by SpaceWERX for a STTR Phase I in the amount of $249k to investigate how it’s orbit transfer vehicle, Orbiter, might enable In-space Service Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities being explored by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and United States Space Force (USSF) through the Orbital Prime program.  Orbital Prime was created to accelerate the commercial ISAM market toward a use case of Active Debris Remediation.  The Air Force Research Laboratory and SpaceWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small business experience through a faster proposal to award timelines, changing the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and losing bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process improvement changes in contract execution. The DAF began offering 'The Open Topic' SBIR/STTR program in 2018 which expanded the range of innovations the DAF funded and now on contract as of 1 September 2022, Launcher will start its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States of America.

Image captions:

Quote
Illustration: Orbiter performing an engine burn while holding the target satellite debris to lower its orbit.

Quote
Illustration:  Orbiter equipped with robotic arm and sensors enabling it to perform In-space Service Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) or Active Debris Remediation.

Quote
Illustration:  Orbiter on final approach to the missions target satellite debris for Active Debris Remediation.

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https://www.launcherspace.com/updates/launcher-successfully-tests-e-2-engine-turbopump-for-the-u-s-space-force

Quote
Launcher Successfully Tests E-2 Engine Turbopump for the U.S. Space Force

Hawthorne, California
October 17, 2022
In a test campaign at NASA Stennis Space Center, Launcher demonstrated the highest-performance kerosene rocket engine turbopump ever manufactured in the U.S.

HAWTHORNE, CA, October 17, 2022 – In the latest test of its E-2 rocket engine for the U.S. Space Force, Launcher demonstrated the highest performance of a kerosene rocket engine turbopump ever manufactured in the United States. The milestone follows Launcher’s successful test-fire demonstrating the highest-performing liquid oxygen & kerosene rocket engine combustion chamber ever built in the United States.

Launcher’s E-2 engine is a closed-cycle liquid rocket engine that will power its Light rocket to orbit with a single engine in its first stage. The successful E-2 turbopump tests took place in late September 2022 at NASA Stennis Space Center. The E-2 test team achieved or exceeded all power, input and output pressure, efficiency, and vibration goals over the course of 11 tests, including long duration, cavitation, and boosted flow.

The pump assembly used Kerosene (RP-1) and liquid oxygen (LOX) as working fluids. The power for the turbine in this test campaign was high-pressure gaseous nitrogen.

This test milestone was formally approved by the U.S. Space Force as part of Launcher’s Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) contract.

To achieve this high-performance milestone, the E-2 turbopump assembly has these specifications and innovations:

High pressure: With 330 bar (4,786 psi) of liquid oxygen and fuel output pressure achieved enabling E-2’s high-pressure oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine cycle.

Lightweight and compact: the single-shaft turbopump includes a turbine, two fuel pumps (RP-1) and a liquid oxygen pump (LOX).

Streamlined turbine design: Novel design achieves industry leading 72% efficiency – surpassing the typical 60% efficiency found on other rocket engine turbopump turbines.

High efficiency pumps: This allows E-2 to keep its engine pre-burner at low temperature (200C), thereby lowering the cost of materials and reducing the risk of oxygen flammability, a key challenge in developing oxidizer-rich staged combustion engines. It also provides margin to achieve designed engine thrust levels.

Simplified: The turbopump design eliminates the need for a kicker turbine or liquid oxygen booster pump, despite a relatively low input pressure from the rocket propellant tanks.

Additively manufactured at Launcher’s facility:

Controls the cost and lead time of turbine, housings, rotating inducers, and impellers.
Launcher’s E-2 engine performance specification is a critical component in its commitment to build the highest-performing liquid rocket engine of any small launch vehicle worldwide. Performance is key to expanding space access by reducing the propellant needed to reach orbital speed – thus increasing the potential payload mass and revenue-generating capacity of the launch vehicle.

As part of the U.S. Space Force’s TACFI contract, Launcher’s next step in E-2 engine development will be pre-burner component testing beginning in November 2022, followed by a long-duration test of the integrated E-2 engine (thrust chamber and turbopump in a closed-cycle) in Q1 2023.

“We would like to thank the U.S. Space Force and NASA for their support of innovation and for making Launcher’s latest high-performance records possible,” said Launcher CEO Max Haot. “By achieving our turbopump milestone, Launcher is one step closer to realizing its mission to expand space access.”

Launcher is also grateful to our partners, including Velo3D, EOS, and NASA Stennis Space Center for their support and technology enabling the development of our E-2 liquid rocket engine.

Image caption:

Quote
Photo: Launcher E-2 Liquid Rocket Engine Turbopump Assembly

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1582070603976040449

Quote
E-2 🚀 engine turbopump long duration test video at @NASAStennis ✅


Online WmThomas

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I assume "powered by nitrogen" means that all that test did was see how hard the turbine could pump.

It wasn't a test of whether the oxygen-kerosen mixture could power it well and constantly.

Am I wrong?

Input from those more knowledgeable than I would be appreciated.

I assume "powered by nitrogen" means that all that test did was see how hard the turbine could pump.

It wasn't a test of whether the oxygen-kerosen mixture could power it well and constantly.

Am I wrong?

Input from those more knowledgeable than I would be appreciated.

The detailed post on their website says, "Launcher’s next step in E-2 engine development will be pre-burner component testing beginning in November 2022", so I think your probably spot on that this was just a test of the pumps using pressurized gas. They did similar test with the combustion chamber.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1582759817331937280

Quote
E-2 🚀 ENGINE TURBOPUMP TEST VIDEO: Highest performance kerosene turbopump ever manufactured in the 🇺🇸. BLOG POST: launcherspace.com/updates/launch…


twitter.com/launcher/status/1552801397854203905

Quote
Today, we successfully performed the Orbiter SN1 post vibration testing separation system test ✅

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1552801403638231040

Quote
We then confirmed that Orbiter’s satellite bus powered on successfully after separation ✅🛰🚀

Any news about Orbiter SN1?

Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Thank you, I had that information but it has not been updated since that date.
I suppose  :( that some problem has arisen and that is why they have not reported
anything.

Offline Foximus

No updates since Jan 3rd is concerning.  Has anything been said anywhere on this?

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No updates since Jan 3rd is concerning.  Has anything been said anywhere on this?

Maybe they're still recovering from the post-launch party!  ;D
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Mandella

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Apparently SN1 failed to achieve proper orientation and couldn't recharge batteries from its solar panels, and went dead with no further deployments once those batteries discharged.

https://spacenews.com/first-launcher-orbital-transfer-vehicle-fails/

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https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1628037760719233025

Quote from: Michael Sheetz
Space habitat company Vast announces the acquisition of Launcher, for an undisclosed amount:
https://vastspace.com/press-releases/vast-acquires-launcher-to-accelerate-growth

Vast: All of Launcher's employees are joining, with the company to continue development of the Orbiter space tug and hosted payload products, as well as the E-2 rocket engine, but will not continue to develop Launcher's Light rocket.

Launcher founder @maxhaot joins as President of Vast.

Offline eeergo

https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1628037760719233025

Quote from: Michael Sheetz
Space habitat company Vast announces the acquisition of Launcher, for an undisclosed amount:
https://vastspace.com/press-releases/vast-acquires-launcher-to-accelerate-growth

Vast: All of Launcher's employees are joining, with the company to continue development of the Orbiter space tug and hosted payload products, as well as the E-2 rocket engine, but will not continue to develop Launcher's Light rocket.

Launcher founder @maxhaot joins as President of Vast.

Astra's future?
-DaviD-

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Unfortunate to see that their Light LV is dead now. A cool premise, but I don't think there was any real market for it.

Online TrevorMonty

Apparently SN1 failed to achieve proper orientation and couldn't recharge batteries from its solar panels, and went dead with no further deployments once those batteries discharged.

https://spacenews.com/first-launcher-orbital-transfer-vehicle-fails/
Unfortunate to see that their Light LV is dead now. A cool premise, but I don't think there was any real market for it.
There is a market,but it would be too late to gain a sustainable share.
« Last Edit: 03/02/2023 03:03 pm by zubenelgenubi »

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twitter.com/launcher/status/1635412500966703105

Quote
Launcher E-2 🚀 Engine Development– Pre-Burner Testing at NASA Stennis Space Center  As we build up toward our integrated engine testing, we successfully designed, manufactured, and tested the pre-burner for our E-2 oxidizer-rich staged combustion engine.

https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1635412505504911360

Quote
We are aiming at the lowest temperature pre-burner due to our highest efficiency turbo-pump, providing ample margin for thrust boost and reducing oxygen flammability risk without the need for exotic coatings/materials (as typically needed in less efficient and higher temperature ORSC engines turbine and pre-burner).

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1664037650062532609

Quote
Check out our latest E-2 engine test campaign at @NASAStennis.

Online TrevorMonty

Launcher's 2nd spacetug mission SN3 (there wasn't a SN2) has failed due to SW bug.

https://www.space.com/orbiter-sn3-space-tug-lost-spacex

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Launcher's 2nd spacetug mission SN3 (there wasn't a SN2) has failed due to SW bug.

https://www.space.com/orbiter-sn3-space-tug-lost-spacex

Sh** happens.. especially in space  :(
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Asteroza

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Launcher's 2nd spacetug mission SN3 (there wasn't a SN2) has failed due to SW bug.

https://www.space.com/orbiter-sn3-space-tug-lost-spacex

Sh** happens.. especially in space  :(

Maybe something unexpected happened during ejection/deployment that the software wasn't expecting? Say it got hooked on something that imparted a high spin, well outside the limits programmed into the software? Or did the problem occur after deployment, implying an ACS thruster valve commanded full open?

Offline brussell

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Launcher's 2nd spacetug mission SN3 (there wasn't a SN2) has failed due to SW bug.

https://www.space.com/orbiter-sn3-space-tug-lost-spacex

Woops. That's 2 out of 2. Apparently space stuff is harder than webcams.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1694057713800749258

Quote
The E-2 Thrust Chamber Assembly test firing earlier this month at @NASAStennis as we build up towards our fully integrated engine test campaign.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1702405689031712804

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The E-2 team continues Thrust Chamber Assembly testing at the E Complex at @NASAStennis. Fully integrated engine test soon. 🔜🚀

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1712636548997607752

Quote
The first fully integrated E-2 engine is ready for shipping to @NASAStennis for our upcoming full engine test campaign later this year. E-2 is a 22,000 lbf (10 tf) thrust LOX/Kerosene oxidizer-rich, staged combustion engine. Stay tuned for updates.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1722000438537621657

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Check out the first fully integrated E-2 engine being installed at @NASAStennis in preparation for our upcoming full engine test campaign later this year. Who's just as excited as we are? ✋

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1726668380730753155

Quote
The first fully integrated E-2 engine roars to life for the first time at the historic @NASAStennis on November 16, 2023. This test proved out the engine bootstrap startup transient. The team will continue to work towards long duration testing at nominal parameters in the upcoming weeks.

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https://twitter.com/launcher/status/1730640372723052922

Quote
E-2’s first 90-second test fire was a success! It performed at 55% power with a low conservative 1.6 mixture ratio as planned. The hardware appears in perfect condition ready for more tests. This is an exceptional result for a first test article (E-2 SN1). The test was also a key milestone for our US Space Force TACFI contract.

We’ve wrapped up this test campaign and will be back in January with an updated injector featuring lower LOX passage pressure drop to allow us to increase the LOX mass flow and in turn reach full thrust and high performance O/F mixture ratio of 2.62.

We thank our team and partners for making this possible - especially @NASAStennis and their team. We would also like to thank the @SpaceForceDoD for their TACFI contract support.

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