3D-printed rocket engine gears up for launch

Joel Loynds
skyrora rocket

A Scottish company, Skyrora, is planning to test a 3D-printed rocket engine in the next few weeks from Lamba Ness in Unst, Shetland.

Skyrora, an aerospace startup based out of Edinburgh, is planning to launch a rocket out of Shetland, Scotland. The project is powered by a 3D-printed engine, rated at 70 kilonewtons.

It’s all in the name of earning the 70kN qualification, needed to ensure that the company can continue its development.

From the press release, Skyrora stated:

“Upon completion of the engine qualification programme, Skyrora plans to build a series of production engines to test the full first stage of Skyrora XL, the final stage to be tested prior to a demo orbital launch.”

Skyrora’s rocket engine is a new design, with a better cooling chamber during flights. Along with reducing the risk of fires or explosions, the entire engine has been built significantly faster.

The new 3D printer used to build the rocket engine was able to cut down the time by an estimated 66% and reduce costs by up to 20%. As this is going to be used in tests before launch, it means Skyrora won’t be too impacted if things were to go wrong.

Skyrora’s own 3D printer, the Skyprint 2, is claimed to be the “largest hybrid 3D printer in Europe” and is specifically designed to develop engine parts for rockets. It was launched in 2021.

Skyrora plans 3D-printed engine to power rocket

This new engine will be housed inside Skyrora’s XL rocket, which according to the company is designed to deploy payloads into either Sun-Synchronous Orbit from 500km (310 miles) to 1000km (621 miles).

For Polar Orbit projects, the rocket can hit between 200km (124 miles) and 1000km in altitude for deployment.

It splits into three different stages during launch, eventually leaving the payload to float in orbit. According to Skyrora, the third stage can “re-ignite multiple times” to ensure it reaches its destination once the rocket is finished.

However, this new 3D-printed engine will be used in the first segment. This is what should drive the rocket into the air.

About The Author

E-Commerce Editor. You can get in touch with him over email: joel.loynds@dexerto.com. He's written extensively about video games and tech for over a decade for various sites. Previously seen on Scan, WePC, PCGuide, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and Metro.co.uk. A deep love for old tech, bad games and even jankier MTG decks.