“For good reason, Earth’s Moon has long been stigmatized as the archetype of longshots, so unfortunately for CLPS providers there hadn’t been many commercial technologies developed for this niche market. At AGILE we believe that lunar commerce is the lynchpin that can kickstart a vibrant space economy. We’re so fervent in this belief that AGILE Space Propulsion quite literally launched at the opportunity to make the moon the proving grounds for our deep space engines.” -Julian Miller, AGILE CEO“Satellites and other spacecraft are getting smaller, yet high-performance in-space propulsion hasn’t. It’s why at AGILE, we are pushing the resolution limits of additive manufacturing to make the thrusters that moonshot providers need on responsive timelines. The AGILE team is driven to help put robotic landers on the lunar surface in order to facilitate the foundational science that is needed to safely and sustainably begin bringing humanity back to the moon.” -Daudi Barnes, AGILE Founder & CTO
#A110 back on the stand! This test resulted in a 27.5 second burn within our Sunshine Test Stand vacuum chamber; all things nominal, burn went well.
Strait from the manufacturing floor, a view inside one of our additive printers while more #A110 thrusters are printed.The future of space exploration being built before our eyes. #AGILEspace
A2200 our 2224 N thrust, Bipropellant Engine.A engine being used on lunar landers with a fully downloadable spec sheet.
+261: Agile Space (with CEO Chris Pearson and Chief Engineer Lars Osborne)OCTOBER 23, 2023Chris Pearson (CEO) and Lars Osborne (Chief Engineer) of Agile Space join me to talk about what they’re working on, how the company has gotten to where it is today, and what’s in store for the future.This episode of Main Engine Cut Off is brought to you by 35 executive producers—Pat from KC, Chris, Benjamin, Pat, Jan, Joonas, The Astrogators at SEE, Tyler, Dawn Aerospace, Bob, Fred, Joel, Donald, Frank, Lee, Craig from SpaceHappyHour.com, Matt, Stealth Julian, Russell, Brandon, SmallSpark Space Systems, Kris, Harrison, David, Ryan, Will and Lars from Agile Space, Steve, Theo and Violet, Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, Warren, and four anonymous—and 835 other supporters.TopicsAgile Space IndustriesChris Pearson takes the reins at Agile Space Industries - SpaceNewsAgile raises $13 million to expand production - SpaceNewsAgile Qualifies a Thruster for Lunar Landings - Payload
Sierra Space and Agile Space successfully collaborate on the largest ever in-space bi-prop hydrazine engine.BLOGNov 14Agile Space Industries has designed, developed, manufactured, tested, and delivered the experimental AX19 preburner for Sierra Space in 19 weeks.Durango, Colorado (11/14/2023) – Agile Space Industries – Sierra Space contracted with Agile Space to design, develop, manufacture, and test a hydrazine-rich preburner for their VRM5500-H engine. This was done on a timeline of only 19 weeks and it is likely that this is the first time a hydrazine-rich preburner has been developed or used in an engine, at least as far as the public record is concerned. The first prototype unit that was produced demonstrated stable operation across a 6:1 throttle range with high combustion efficiency. This is yet another example of Agile Space successfully developing new technology in record time.Why was it developed?Large, high efficiency rocket engines used on large spacecraft need a power source to drive the pumps that take the low-pressure propellants in the tanks to the high pressures needed to run the engine. The AX19 preburner facilitates this by combining all the engine’s hydrazine fuel with some of the engine’s MON-3 oxidizer to decompose the hydrazine into (mostly) hydrogen, ammonia, nitrogen, and water. This hot gas is used as the power to drive the engine’s high-pressure pumps. Achieving high-efficiency combustion in a rocket engine requires a very efficient injector. There are several different methods for achieving this, but in general having one or both propellants injected as a gas instead of as a liquid will greatly improve mixing and create a higher performing engine. The AX19 preburner enables this capability for hydrazine by converting it into the gaseous products mentioned above.How does it work?Hydrazine is a monopropellant, which means that it doesn’t need any oxidizer to combust. This presents a challenge when attempting to design a fuel-rich preburner because partial combustion of the fuel as in a kerosene, methane, or hydrogen engine isn’t possible. Monopropellant combustion is typically difficult to keep stable without running it through a large amount of specialized catalyst, which is both very expensive and difficult to acquire in large quantities.The AX19 was designed to use as little catalyst as possible while maintaining stable combustion. First, a small fraction of the hydrazine is sent to a catalyst reactor where it is decomposed and sent to the preburner main combustion chamber as a hot mix of ammonia, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Next the remaining liquid hydrazine, which is most of the fuel flow to the preburner, is injected as a liquid into the preburner combustion chamber. At the same time in the main combustion chamber a small amount of oxidizer is injected into the chamber, where it is fully combusted with a portion of the liquid hydrazine and decomposed gas. All the heat added to the chamber from both the reactor exhaust gas and oxidizer combustion is used for rapid thermal decomposition of the remaining, now thoroughly atomized, liquid hydrazine.Does it work?The AX19 preburner was successfully tested as a standalone component in October of 2022 in Durango, Colorado on Agile’s Animas test stand. After initial runs it was delivered to Sierra Space for further testing and was operated successfully both standalone and coupled to their full VRM-5500H engine in Q1 and Q2 of 2023. This testing covered the entire throttle range and verified stable operation of the preburner and successful operation of the VRM5500-H engine.ARTICLE WRITTEN BY Charles Campbell ON NOV 14th, 2023
AX19 Preburner being hot fired at Agile Space
AX19 preburner after being delivered to Sierra Space integrated into the VRM-5500H engine, being hot fired at a test facility at Redstone Arsenal.
AX19 hot fired on the Animas Test stand at Agile Space with the full flame trench visible
Deep Space transportation, here we come!BLOGNov 20Agile Space sells their first LE144 thruster adding a new space destination to their list of missions they are providing propulsion for.We’re excited to announce our first commercial sale of the LE144 bipropellant thruster for a deep space transportation vehicle! While we have already sold over 90 thrusters for commercial LEO and lunar lander applications, this new vehicle class represents a new opportunity with beyond-LEO transportation and servicing vehicles. “This agreement opens new markets for us, with both commercial and government customers looking for a high performance and proven propulsion solution for transporting and servicing spacecraft beyond LEO,” said Will Francis, Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re pleased to have our propulsion system on-board this first-of-its-kind vehicle, especially given the significance of their mission.” Our LE144 is a dual-mode engine operating on hydrazine and MON3 provides class-leading performance in chemical in-space propulsion. In addition, it has an innovative regeneratively cooled combustion chamber architecture which enables the system to be nearly undetectable by thermal imaging, which can make it advantageous for national security, rendezvous and proximity, and SDA/SSA missions. The thruster has been hot-fire tested in both modes across various operating conditions. The demonstration in monopropellant mode further expands the scope of this thruster beyond competing products in the same thrust class.The new customer’s vehicle requires fast orbital maneuverability and our efficient, powerful chemical rocket propulsion solution fits the bill. Additionally, they applaud our additive manufacturing facilities and fully integrated and iterative hot-fire testing program saying, “Agile’s nimble and flexible manufacturing approach coupled with past performance with lunar missions gives us the confidence we need to push the boundaries of delivering services in deep space.”If you’d like to learn more about our high-performance propulsion devices and how we can reduce risk early on, while delivering on time and on budget, contact us at [email protected] or contact us through our contact page
We are reducing lead times on in-space chemical thrusters from the aerospace industry's standard 24 months down to 3-6 months.We are the engine manufacturer that is changing the landscape of in-space chemical propulsion. Read more about what we do:https://agilespaceindustries.com/about
A110 our 111 N thrust, Bipropellant thruster. The engine being used on both the Astrobotic Griffin and ispace Apex 1.0 lunar landers has a fully downloadable spec sheet.