Flight of the Aerospike: Episode 7 – Frequently Asked Questions
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Flight of the Aerospike: Episode 7 – Frequently Asked Questions

August 22, 2019

Hi, I’m Liz from ARCA Space, and on this week’s
episode, we’ll be showing you some of our test preparations, as well as answering some
of your most frequently asked questions. We’re checking out the Space Murals Museum
today, down the street from ARCA. As you can see, we’re checking out some of
the old rockets, and we are looking at some of the old NASA stuff that’s here, and we’re
just basically here to get inspired as we progress towards the Demonstrator 3 launch. And come check it out. It’s just outside of Las Cruces, they got
a cool little gift shop, and we’re just basically here to take a trip down, and just check out
some of the cool stuff they have here. Here, we have a fit check between the Demonstrator
3 aerospike engine and the Haas 2CA test tank. This is the configuration for the test article which
will be integrated onto the test stand next week. The capacity of this tank is the same as that
of the Demonstrator 3, and will allow for our engine ground test to be at the same duration
as during flight. Hello, here we are answering one of your most
frequently asked questions. I’m a little bit amused because my colleagues
were asking me to answer these questions without seeing them in advance of this video recording,
so let’s see how good I’m able to handle everything. So –
Honestly, I read this first question before, so I know the answer to it. The question is, “Has the engine
been tested yet? When will it be?” No, the engine was not tested yet. We are going to integrate the test article
on the test stand next week and we hope to be able to start the engine tests in maximum
two weeks from now. And from now on, we have only questions that
I was not able to read them before. “Live stream? Public viewing?” Yes, we intend to have a
live streaming from the launch of Demonstrator 3 rocket
from Spaceport America. And we are going to have a spectators area
where the public will be able to – from where the public will be able to see
the launch. “What is the engine made out of?
How is it constructed?” It is made of composites. We have two different layers of composites. An internal layer that is able to withstand
a 250 degrees Celsius temperature from inside, and an external layer that is a mechanical
layer. And the temperature of the mechanical layer
is not going to reach more than 150 degrees. The mechanical layer is made of fiberglass
and epoxy resin, while the thermal layer is made of
composites also, but we can’t tell you exactly what the
material is used for that. “How does the engine steer? Why the fins?” The engine is not going to steer.
It’s a ballistic rocket. That’s why we have the fins that will allow
the rocket to be aerodynamically stabilized. We are going to have a launch tower and the
rocket is accelerating on the launch tower until it reaches the minimum velocity for
stabile flight. This velocity, in case of the Demonstrator
3 rocket, is in the range of 14 meters per second. And at the end of the launch tower, the rocket
will have enough speed to allow the wings to offer aerodynamic stability. So the engine is not – doesn’t have any thrust
vectoring or gimbaling system to control the attitude or trajectory of the rocket. “What propellant?
Aren’t there more efficient ones?” For the Demonstrator 3 rocket we are going
to use hydrogen peroxide, 70 percent, which offers an impulse at sea level of around 95
seconds, and in vacuum, of 126 seconds. Yes, of course, there are more efficient propellants. For instance, only mixing hydrogen peroxide
with kerosene will offer a higher impulse for the same chamber pressure.
And – But the purpose of the Demonstrator
3 flight is to test the aerospike engine, to see how the aerospike engine perform during
flight from sea level all the way to space. And it’s relevant for us to use just hydrogen
peroxide for this first qualification flight. “Why linear instead of toroidal?” This question is referring to the aerospike
engine. We are using the linear engine for the Demonstrator
3 flight because – the Demonstrator 3 rocket because we are also using a linear aerospike
for the Haas 2CA rocket. And we choose the linear aerospike for the
Haas 2CA rocket because it allows us to control the attitude and trajectory of the rocket
on all axes using thrust vectoring control. And, as I said during the previous question,
we are not using any means of engine control, thrust vectoring or gimbaling system for the
Demonstrator 3 rocket, but we are using, for the Demonstrator 3 rocket, a linear aerospike
because it’s relevant for the Haas 2CA rocket. “So haven’t other aerospikes been flown already?” Yes, they were.
There were actually two programs. One in California and one performed by NASA. And they were testing a toroidal aerospike
engine, but the altitude achieved during this flight test was in the range of a few thousand
meters, maybe even less than that. So Demonstrator 3 rocket is going to flight
test the first linear aerospike ever. And we are going to fly, in space, the aerospike,
which makes this the first space flight of an aerospike engine. “How soon is the launch?
What date?” We hope to be able to launch at the end of
August. We are going to start the ground test at the
beginning of August at the same location as the one for the launch at Spaceport America,
and immediately after that, we just need to integrate the engine in the rocket and perform
the flight. So we hope for the end of August. “How much does the engine cost to build?” This is an information that we
can’t tell you. It’s part of the business. But, for sure, we are going to tell you how
much it’s going to cost, the engine for the Haas 2CA rocket, once this would become
commercially available. “What makes this better than other engines?” Like in the case of any engine, there are
pros and cons, but what makes the aerospike unique is the fact that it’s able to perform
altitude compensation. In the case of a classic engine with a conical
or bell shape nozzle, these engines are adapted to perform – for optimum performance only
when at one altitude. For instance, in the case of the first stage,
the engines are able to perform optimum only at sea level, while in vacuum there are
performance losses. In the case of a vacuum engine, it performs
well in vacuum, while at sea level has a very poor performance. And in a lot of the cases these engines are
not even able to work because the jet stream is detached from the nozzle walls and there
are a lot of vibrations and it can result even in the destruction of the engine. In the case of the aerospike engine, it offers
optimum performance from sea level all the way to space. So it’s definitely an advantage. So it’s like taking a classic engine, and
this will perform optimum at all flight levels. So that’s it for the Q&A. I hope I did pretty well and that I was able
to answer to your questions. And yeah, we are waiting for you to
ask more questions and we will be more than happy to
answer in the future.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Are single stage to orbit designs going to be one of Arca's major focus? Well, in the space industry that is, rather than the military and commercial industry.

  2. What kind of soft do you use to simulate the physics inside the engine, and to simulate how behaves the plume along the nozzle ? Are they commercial or in-house ?

  3. This sounds and looks like a great project. I personally like how you guys are going for it on a very limited budget. If this project becomes viable are you planning to expand into a vectored thrust model of the linear aerospike at some point in the future?

  4. I'm curious about how intensive the CFD models are for the rocket? There's a huge reduction in moving parts so I'm assuming it's a lot simpler than a conventional rocket engine right?

  5. Thanks for the Q&A and allowing us glimpse into your company's efforts in aerospace thru these episodes. This is like a reality show about a space corporation & I am very excited to see a successful launch by Aug end ! All the best ! 👍.

  6. How do you attract talent ? Do you fall under ITAR regulation ? http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar.html

  7. Are you planning to make the rocket capable of surviving reentry and parachuting down safely for reuse? A reusable SSTO would be much cheaper than anything else on the smallsat market.

  8. It's not old rockets you're cruising with, it's history, your origins in your industry. The blood sweat and tears of millions of people and innovation like none other.

  9. Temperature control with composites will prove to be a problem in the future.
    For the HAAS 2CA, the combustion area and nozzle will use an ablative heat shield under the composite layer?

    For the Demonstrator 3 rocket, you didn't mention an ablative layer.

    Instead of an ablative layer, have you considered carbon-carbon composite, as used on the space shuttle? That should be reusable.

    I also understand that for the propellants, you're planning on using kerosene as fuel and H2O2 as oxidizer. However, LOX would provide superior performance, with the cost of cryogenic concerns. Now composite doesn't normally behave well with cryogenic propellants, but Northrop Grumman, NASA, and Lockheed Martin developed composite cryogenic tanks that can not only handle LOX, but also LH2.

    "After the cancellation in 2001, engineers were able to make a working liquid oxygen tank out of carbon fiber composite.[citation needed]

    On September 7, 2004, Northrop Grumman and NASA engineers unveiled a liquid hydrogen tank made of carbon fiber composite material that had demonstrated the ability for repeated fuelings and simulated launch cycles.[8] Northrop Grumman concluded that these successful tests have enabled the development and refinement of new manufacturing processes that will allow the company to build large composite tanks without an autoclave; and design and engineering development of conformal fuel tanks appropriate for use on a single-stage-to-orbit vehicle.[13]"


  10. Ah, so you answered my toroidal aerospike as well as my control questions all at once. Didn't watch this video before I asked questions on another video.

  11. I haven't watched past here and don't know how things are currently going but I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit… There are way too many red flags to ignore.

  12. any thing that burns .. can't be good for our .. planet's atmosphere .. not mentioned is .. what the fuel consists of .. what combination of ignitable chemicals are being used .. curious ..

  13. only watching becsuse the name aerospike sounds cool. my subconcious likes it a lot. its also a satisfying word to say. sPike. P. I like P. why do I like P ? P. P….sssssPikaaaahhh. P kahhhh thats what I like.

  14. Once again, where is the actuator system to steer those aerospike engines? I am seeing some rockets in the back, what are those suposed to be?

  15. Hi, Dumitru. You mentioned that the mechanical layer is made from fiberglass and epoxy resin and that the thermal layer is made from composites, but you couldn't say what kind of composites. 4:02 Why are you unable to tell us what kind of composites are used for the thermal layer?

  16. why does this all feel like a scam… why do all the people talking seem like high schoolers pranking us with that smirk on their faces?

  17. Two 10-ft. long solid-fueled rockets with aerospike nozzles were flown successfully on two consecutive flights March 30 and 31, 2004. WTF…has not been tested?

  18. Russia perfected the Aerospike engine years ago, is this just a place where kids with too much money can go to spend it?

  19. how much would it cost to launch a payload on your rocket aposed to other companies such as rocket lad and spaceX

  20. Rocketdyne aka Rocket Research is across the valley from me and Ive been graced with being able to see the rocket motors dating back to the 50's INCLUDING the AeroSpike. The AeroSpike is real and was tested rigorously. Funding killed it. The people in this video are the new kids on the block and are presenting the project poorly. Those that are the nay sayers here are the self inflated self important aholes from various agencies and governments employed to kill the competition. From what I have learned from the REAL rocket motor builders, The linear motor is what will begin true SSTO and beyond space flight. Whether its these kids or another company. Beware of the dream killers and nay sayers, if Edison or Ford had bent to their pressure we would be still using candles or kerosene for lighting and walking or riding horses. We have made huge technologic jumps in the last 120 years, lets keep up the pace

  21. I didint know uuuuhhh that uuuuhhh rocket engineers uuuuhhh spokeuuuuuhhh like uuuhhhmmm this uuuuhhh testicleuuuummmmmm.

  22. what i wonder about is the reverse flow of gasses inside the chamber dowwn to the reactor then up to the nozzles please explain that loss of power

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