Space Daily has an update concerning Rocket Crafters. Rocket Crafters has been awarded a patent for the fabrication and design to 3D print rocket fuel for spacecraft.
This method will help scientists and engineers devise “flawless, high-performance, safer handling fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines” using only 3D printing, “which will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts.”
Rocket Crafters’ co-founder, President, and CTO Ronald Jones explains: “3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbits at as low as half current launch costs.”
These rockets will be incorporated into Intrepid-1, “the world’s first mass-producible orbital launch vehicle.” Rocket Crafters’ “patented method takes advantage of 3D printing’s unique ability to precisely fabricate fuel grains (a tubular shaped structure [dually serving] as the rocket’s solid fuel source and combustion chamber) which features internal geometric patterns designed to significantly increase the amount of fuel that is available for combustion on a second-by-second basis during the rocket engine’s operation.”
Rocket Crafters’ Chairman and CEO Sid Gutierrez (who also happens to be a former NASA astronaut and a retired Sandia National Labs executive) opened up about the company’s vision:
“[Rocket Crafters] continues to innovate. This new patent shows our commitment to making access to space safer, more reliable, and more affordable than ever before. I have believed for years that hybrid rockets, due to the inherent safety when propellants are protected against accidental detonation by storing them in different states, could be the solution to make rocket powered flight as safe as airline travel one day. With our 3D printed fuel technology, we now have the means to make this a reality.”
Rocket Crafters “is currently on track to incorporate their rocket motors into orbital launch vehicles in 2019.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Space Daily