September 27, 2018
After much calibration and a few test cuts, tool has finally hit material for the latest version of our nozzle prototype. Manufacturing of our second nozzle prototype has officially begun. The first rough cut has been completed, and the refining passes are expected to happen over the next few weeks. Hopefully, we’ll have a completed prototype nozzle by the end of the month.
We have been running into snags on this piece of the project. Not from an engineering stand point, but from a sourcing stand point. There is no shortage of aerospace-grade valving available, if you are willing to pay $1000+ per valve. It is a similar story with racing valves. After much searching online, we found a source for valves that we can use for our testing. Up-side is they are around $100 per valve, down-side is they will be far too heavy to fly. Going forward, we are now kicking around the idea of designing our own valves. We have the skills and experience necessary to do so, so this may be one of many ways that we help to reduce our costs. But for now, our engine just needs to fire.
We revealed in our last post that we are using a hybrid design, and gave you a glimpse at a prototype grain centrifuge. Since then, we have refined our design and manufacturing process, and are beginning to produce flight-quality fuel grains. We still need to make a few more tweaks before they will be truly ready for launch, but we are pretty close to completing our first-gen hybrid fuel grain. This is particularly exciting for us. Once our grain design is completed, we are confident we will have the most environmentally friendly solid fuel in the entire aerospace industry.