jueves, 19 de abril de 2018

Boeing and Rolls-Royce invest $37,6 in Reaction Engines Limited

Boeing and Rolls-Royce have invested £26.5 million (approx. $37.6 million) in Reaction Engines Limited, a UK-based aerospace company working on the 3D printing enabled SABRE engine, capable of Mach 25.

Reaction Engines Chief Executive Mark Thomas comments, “In addition to providing our largest round of private investment, these new partners bring invaluable expertise in both hypersonics and engine technologies with significant access to target markets,”

Reaction Engines was formed in 1989 “to design and develop the technologies needed for a new class of innovative hypersonic propulsion system,” i.e. the SABRE.  Steve Nordlund, Vice President of Boeing investment arm HorizonX comments, “We continue to connect capabilities around the globe with our investment in Reaction Engines, which is our first in a UK-based company. We expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing's pursuit of hypersonic flight.”

The SABRE is a hybrid engine capable of flying at both low and high altitudes, using hydrogen/oxygen mixing (low altitude), or stored Liquid OXygen (LOX) when launched into space. With the latest fund from Boeing and Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines has raised over £100 million ($142 million) in the past three years.

miércoles, 18 de abril de 2018

Spain: 3D printing and AI to allow rockets evolve like nature

FADA-CATEC (Fundación Andaluza para el Desarrollo Aeroespacial - Centro Avanzado de TECnologías) is supporting Zero 2 Infinity (Z2I) in the development of a new generation of rocket engines.

Recently, FADA-CATEC has successfully 3D printed a combustion chamber for Zero 2 Infinity's Bloostar engineJose Mariano López-Urdiales, founder and CEO of Zero 2 Infinity, praised the benefits of 3D printing: "Traditional rockets have had straight cooling channels because that's all that could be manufactured. When you put a flashlight in your ear, you see a wonderful tree-like structure of blood vessels. We don't have straight rows of blood vessels in our ears. 3D printing and AI now allow rockets to evolve, like nature."

Zero 2 Infinity is an spanish privately-owned company with subsidiaries in Germany and the United States. The plans of the company include using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and neural networks to optimize the cooling of the thrust chamber via structures that cannot be manufactured by any other means.

martes, 17 de abril de 2018

Additive manufacturing to develop advanced warheads

In words of Richard Truitt -Orbital ATK’s program manager for warhead development programs- “Additive Manufacturing allows us to make complicated geometries, which would benefit a hypersonics application, without the nasty, long schedule,” .

And beyond building warheads rapidly for testing, manufacturing them using 3D Printing capabilities would likely drive down the cost because instead of a machinist starting with a solid chunk of steel or aluminum, which is expensive, and throwing away 99 percent of it, there is no waste. “It’s an enabling technology for us to design and deliver weapons or warheads and get them to the warfighter,” Truitt said.

In what is a major first for the company, Orbital ATK announced the successful test of a partially-3D printed warhead designed for hypersonic weapons. Taking place on March 29, the testing comes just sixty days after conception, with three out of five of the warhead’s major components made using Additive Manufacturing. Speaking to Defense News, Orbital said the test aimed to examine what effects the fragmentation will have on various targets.

Orbital ATK’s efforts are among many initiatives both within U.S. industry and the Defense Department to stay ahead of peer competitors Russia and China, who are both heavily engaged in developing hypersonic weapons. Orbital decided to try Additive Manufacturing on a warhead design for hypersonic applications because the Defense Department is moving full speed ahead with hypersonic technology development in the coming years as it decides how it will employ such weapons.

The company has developed its LEO (Lethality Enhanced Ordnance) warhead capability and some modeling techniques to help look at fragmentation design on certain target sets. In words of Pat Nolan -vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s missile products division- “Now we’re coupling our rocket motor hypersonic experience with our warhead design experience to design a warhead that can survive at high speeds, high temperatures, when you’re going that fast,”. The company wants to be ready with the right modeling when hypersonic weapons prototypes and testing begin to ramp up, and the data obtained in the test will be used to measure up against what the engineers believed would happen based on modeling and simulationThe test itself was conducted in a traditional arena where the warhead is hung from above and metal panels surround it in a half circle that are designed to measure how the fragmentation from the warhead disperses upon detonation. High-speed cameras are rigged to measure the velocity of the fragmentation. Another two panels that consist of layers of material -in this case housing insulation- are designed to capture shrapnel in order for the pieces to be measured as well as the depth of perforation.

The 50 lb (22 Kg) warhead went from conception to test in 60 days, according to Truitt. The team began designing the warhead at the start of February, he said, and using Additive Manufacturing to build a large portion of the components cut out at least a month and a half to manufacture the warhead. “If you walk around it, you will see it’s not a cylinder, it’s got some really complicated dimensions. Getting that part in that dimension in a very short time is nearly impossible,” Truitt said. Orbital received the hardware to build the warhead in less than two weeks, he added. “We are really happy to do this test with additive manufactured parts because it is going to tell us, does that actually function the way a normal component would,” Truitt said prior to the test. 

viernes, 13 de abril de 2018

Additive Manufacturing to develop "All-in-One" Injector Heads

In a propulsion module, tremendous forces develop under extreme conditions. This demands maximum levels of reliability and precision in a small space. The injection head is one of the core elements of the propulsion module, feeding the fuel mixture into the combustion chamber. Its traditional design consists of 248 components, produced and assembled in various manufacturing steps.

The different processing steps, such as casting, brazing, welding, and drilling, result in weak points that can constitute a risk under extreme loads. Moreover, it is a time-consuming and complex process: In the field of injector elements, conventional production requires over 8.000 cross holes to be drilled in copper sleeves that are then precisely screwed to the 122 injector elements in order to mix the hydrogen that streams through them with oxygen.

A glance at these figures clearly shows that, from the perspective of risk one functionally integrated component combining all the elements is an obvious but ambitious goal. This could also release huge economic potential and cut the number of processing steps as well as production time, especially for a Class 1 component. Missions costing hundreds of millions depend on these components. Accordingly, engineers are constantly seeking to develop components of the highest quality, functionality, and robustness while simplifying the manufacturing chain and reducing the number of individual elements.

Thanks to Additive Manufacturing, Ariane Group has succeeded in taking this to a whole new level: The injector head of a rocket engine has been simplified and reduced to what is literally an AiO (All-in-One) design. The results of the new injector head produced using additive manufacturing are extremely impressive: Instead of 248 parts, it consists of just one -with the same functionality- and cutting the required time down to a minimum. The project team chose a heat- and corrosion-resistant nickel-based alloy (IN718) as the material to print the 122 injection nozzles, the base and front plates, and the distribution dome with the corresponding feed pipes for the hydrogen and oxygen fuels as one integrated component. In words of Dr.-Ing. Steffen Beyer, Head of Production Technology – Materials & Processes at Ariane Group“Only additive manufacturing can combine integrated functionality, lightweight construction, a simpler design, and shorter lead times in a single component.” 

jueves, 12 de abril de 2018


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Breaking news and important information can be found on the DEFCON Warning System community forum and on the DEFCON Twitter feed DEFCONWSAlerts. 

You may also subscribe to the DEFCON Warning System mailing list. The next scheduled update is 2 P.M. Pacific Time, May 1, 2018. Additional updates will be made as the situation warrants, with more frequent updates at higher alert levels.

If this had been an actual attack, the DEFCON Warning System will give radiation readings for areas that are reported to it. Your readings will vary. Official news sources will have radiation readings for your area. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning.

At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack: There are various reports of military assets being moved into position, and both Russia and Syria believe that a strike by the United States is imminent. While we do not believe the situation in Syria will be anything more than it has been in the past, we feel that a raise in the alert level is a prudent precaution at this time.

Relativity: ¿A Game Changer in Missile Fabrication Technology?

“Relativity is shaking up an industry that hasn’t experienced this level of innovation in decades. We are excited to be a part of a company that is taking a radical approach and we believe Relativity brings significant value to the aerospace ecosystem,” said Jory Bell, Investment Partner at Playground Global and Relativity Board Member.

Relativity Space already has over $1 billion worth of Memorandum Of Understandings (MOUs) and Letter Of Intents (LOIs) from leading commercial and government entities around the world. It is the only venture-backed startup selected for the National Space Council Users Advisory Group, and was recently awarded a first-of-its-kind 20-year test site partnership with NASA Stennis for exclusive lease and use of the 25-acre E4 Test Complex.

The company, which was formed in 2015, wants to fully 3D print rockets with a giant 3D printer and almost no human intervention. In the roughly three years that Relativity has been in existence, it has built what it describes as the world’s largest metal 3D printer and has completed more than 100 rocket engine test fires. Relativity uses machine learning in combination with custom software, hardware and proprietary metal alloys to fabricate over 95% of its rockets’ major components using 3D printing.

“By leveraging an all-in approach to 3D printing, we will fully automate the production of rockets. ” said Tim Ellis, CEO and Co-Founder of Relativity SpaceRecently, the company announced the closing of its $35 million Series B financing, led by Playground Global and with full participation from existing Series A investors Social Capital, Y Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban. The funding will be used to advance the company’s scalable and automated process for building rockets, from conception to production.

miércoles, 11 de abril de 2018

Additive Manufacturing to develop advanced fuel systems

According to Jeff Engel, COO of Reaction Systems Inc."in hypersonic flight the combustor temperature gets so high that materials can’t survive in that environment; you have to continually cool the combustor sections."

Reaction Systems is developing a fuel system to absorb that heat load from the combustor specifically, so that the final speed of the vehicle is faster. But transferring the heat to the working fluid, while providing a maximum surface area for catalysis inside the heat exchanger, is essentially impossible to achieve with conventional heat exchanger fabrication technologies.

Additive Manufacturing from Faustson Tool Corporation is enabling the heat exchange technology: Faustson’s Concept Laser M2 cusing Multilaser can build with a variety of high-performance alloys, including cobalt-chromium grades, Ti6Al4V, pure titanium and the material for Reaction Systems’ heat exchanger, Inconel 718.

martes, 10 de abril de 2018

Additive Manufacturing to get missile engines in 24 hours

The design, development and manufacturing of the 3D Printed, electric turbo-pump fed Rutherford Engine began in 2013, with the first test fire taking place in December of the same year.

Rutherford is produced by Rocket Lab via EBM (Electron Beam Melting), an advanced form of 3D Printing. Its engine chamber, injector, turbopumps, and main propellant valves are all printed and assembled into a lightweight shape.

Rocket Lab has produced a total of 40 flight-ready engines to date, and aims to produce another 100 engines by the end of this year. The Rutherford engine’s production scalability is facilitated by Additive Manufacturing, or 3D Printed primary components.

With a 3D printed combustion chamber, injectors, pumps, and main propellant valves, Rutherford has the most 3D printed components of any rocket engine in the world. Actually, Rutherford has two versions weighing just 35kg and offering 24 kN (5,500 lbf) thrust / 311 s (3.05 km/s) specific impulse (First Stage Engine) or 24 kN (5,500 lbf) thrust / 343 s (3.36 km/s) specific impulse (Second Stage)

As said, Rutherford features the use of electrically driven propellant pumps, rather than turbomachinery, further reducing complexity and build-time. This unique approach allows unmatched precision and control of propellent flow and a significant increase in performance through mass savings: “The Rutherford engine was designed from the beginning to be both high performing and fast to manufacture on a mass scale,” said Lachlan Matchett, Vice President of Propulsion. “By enabling faster, scalable engine production we speed up production of the whole vehicle. We can print an entire engine in as little as 24 hours."

viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

Ceramic Additive Manufacturing to develope future Hypersonic Missiles

Additive manufacturing of ceramic materials might be the key to develop future hypersonic missiles.

Ceramic materials such as Silicon OxyCarbide (SiOC) can withstand incredible temperatures.

If shaped into complex geometries, the SiOC material could be exactly what engineers are looking for: “If a material can withstand those temperatures – roughly 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit [1.760 degrees Celsius] – it could be used for hypersonic aircraft engine components like struts or flame holders,” Jamie Szmodis, a hypersonic research engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate, said.

But that is only if materials like SiOC can be shaped into the complex structures needed for hypersonic flight where heat stresses are extreme. To harness the potential of the material, the Air Force is partnering with private laboratories that are pioneering novel manufacturing processes. The Air Force recently signed a Cooperative Research and DevelopmentMaterial Transfer Agreement with HRL Laboratories to test its novel manufacturing processes: “The potential of the HRL-produced materials for demanding Air Force applications became apparent while Aerospace Systems Directorate scientists were searching for new thermocouple radiation shields,” reads a release from the Air Force Research Laboratory. “The SiOC materials were produced through an additive manufacturing process utilizing a pre-ceramic resin. Following part fabrication, the pre-ceramic resin was heat treated to convert the component to a fully ceramic state. AFRL scientists became interested in HRL’s novel process taking advantage of state-of-the-art 3D printing capabilities and pre-ceramic resin chemistry as well as the possible performance of the final SiOC materials at high temperatures.”

The agreement is also beneficial to HRL Laboratories, which can receive early feedback from what is likely to be its largest customer. “The extreme temperature testing that AFRL performed revealed the limits of our new material and challenged us to improve it,” Dr. Tobias Schaedler, a senior scientist from HRL, said. If the Air Force and HRL Laboratory’s collaboration pays off, they could potentially solve the biggest outstanding challenge with developing hypersonic air vehicles, which is essentially material sciences. Right now, there are no materials that can withstand the extreme heat and stress generated during hypersonic flight. 3D printed ceramics might just be the solution to that problem. Time, of course, will tell. The partnership agreement is beneficial for the Air Force because it is not just a customer but, rather, the service participates in the development process, gaining valuable expertise: “Without the material transfer agreement, we would have purchased the samples to test them. We would have been a customer, as opposed to a collaborator,” Szmodis said. “With the agreement we are able to provide test results to HRL and provide feedback that is valuable to both parties.”

martes, 3 de abril de 2018

Aerojet Rocketdyne bets for the Additive Manufacturing

Aerojet Rocketdyne has invested time and resources over the last two decades to evolve Additive Manufacturing technology to meet the stringent requirements of rocket engine and defense systems applications.

In recent years, Aerojet Rocketdyne has notched several successes in developing this technology for a broad range of products, from discrete component demonstrations to hot-fire testing of engines and propulsion systems made entirely with Additive Manufacturing.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has also been working to differentiate its Defense Advanced Programs (aka Rocket Shop) using the new design spaces enabled by Additive Manufacturing. Rocket Shop examples include tactical (hypersonics), missile defense and strategic systems applications.


Cost: The use of Additive Manufacturing dramatically reduces the amount of touch labor required to build many engine components, which allows them to deliver more affordable legacy products and new product applications to their customers. 

Schedule: Components that once took hundreds of hours to produce with traditional manufacturing techniques can now be built in just days using a single machine. This reduces lead times significantly and allows them to bring their products to market more quickly.

Flexibility: Aerojet Rocketdyne’s engineering team has refined its approach to the design process to reflect the dramatically expanded possibilities enabled by Additive Manufacturing. They are free to design products that were once thought impossible due to the constraints of traditional manufacturing.

What Sets Them Apart

Powders: They fully understand powder feedstock that is utilized – including particle size, distribution and chemistry – to make sure the resulting alloys can perform under the extreme pressures and operating conditions of rocket engines.

Process: They have worked directly with OEMs to learn the intricate details about how the selective laser melting process works so they can adjust parameters -- such as laser speed, and core and contour scan strategies -- to achieve optimal microstructures and surface finish features to meet their requirements.

Properties: They have performed detailed analysis of components built using Additive Manufacturing to fully characterize the materials and properties to make sure they will perform as designed. They actually test the alloys at the extreme operating conditions faced by their products, including temperatures that range from -320°F to 2,100°F (-195ºC to 1.148ºC). They account for all those operating environments in their designs to ensure they can operate in the extreme environments of space.