As a main engine: the ideal solution for small launch vehicles
Pangea Aerospace is developing aerospike engines in the 30kN to 300kN thrust range, perfectly adapted to work as the main engine for small launch vehicles
Pangea Aerospace is developing small thrusters for in-space propulsion applications. Those aerospike engines can be used as roll and attitude control systems in launch vehicles and for other in-space propulsion applications. Contact us if you are interested.
The aerospike engine has been largerly studied and tested since the 1960’s but none has ever flown due to its inherent cooling and manufacturing complexities. Today, due to additive manufacturing the cooling and manufacturing problem can be adressed, which opens a new era for aerospike propulsion systems for a wide range of applications.
The fundamental difference between the bell and aerospike nozzles is that the aerospike does not constrain the flow, leaving it free to expand according to the external ambient pressure. Therefore, an aerospike is optimally expanded at every altitude which makes the aerospike 10-15% more efficient than the currently-used bell nozzle.
Furthermore, the aerospike engine also offers potential advantages for in-space propulsion applications (small satellite engine and interplanetary apogee engine):
- Reduced dimensions if compared with a bell nozzle for the same thrust level.
- Reduced weight as it shares major structural elements with the vehicle. Weight optimization is one of the major design driving factors for any space mission, as more weight implies more cost.
- Facilitation of thrust vectoring control by using secondary injections