September 12, 2016
by bluShift Aerospace
Great News! The design phase is complete, and our resident manufacturing engineer has finished the CAM work for our rocket engine nozzle and is preparing to machine it this week. This is going to be a particularly tricky endeavor, partly because of the nozzle itself, but mostly because it is being made entirely out of a graphite material. This is not the graphite you would ordinarily find in pencils. While probably just as ‘dusty’, the kind of graphite we’re using is specifically developed for rocket nozzles. It is designed to withstand the heat, pressure, caustic chemicals, and other stresses at work on it. Stay tuned for any sneak previews we may post from manufacturing.
As for our software and computer engineers, they are continuing their work on a completely custom software and hardware package for our test, which may seem a little extreme to some of you. We need to measure the force output from the engine, engine vibrations, and fuel and oxidizer consumption. While the infrastructure for our fuel and oxidizer system may be a more traditional design, we are paying close attention to it. We take safety and reliability very seriously here at bluShift. Not only do we want full control over our engine and fueling system, but we want the ability to flood the entire system with a fire suppressing gas in the unlikely event of an accident. Current pre-built packages are already on the market; however, our plans would exceed the capabilities of these available options. Our upcoming test will be an assessment on what our software and computer teams have cooked up, as much as it is for the engine and fuel.
Another exciting piece of tech that we are working on is the fuel injection system, which we are putting the final touches on. Like a lot of other pieces of our project, we believe we are trying something innovative with our injection system. It is our goal that these designs will not only reduce the total empty mass, but aid in flight stability as well.
It is safe to say that we are entering the ‘hardware phase’ for this new engine. These next few weeks are going to be very exciting as everything that had only previously existed as equations, drawings, and code, begins to take shape in tangible rocket components.