Startup creates the first 3D-printed, battery-powered rocket engine

Atmel | Bits & Pieces


Rocket Lab adopts a new electric propulsion cycle and produces the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use 3D printing for all primary components.

Typically, the cost associated with launching a lightweight rocket into orbit can easily run upwards of $100 million. In an effort to curb the astronomical expense of space travel, Los Angeles-based startup Rocket Lab is redefining the way rocket engines are manufactured and how they function.

rutherford-engine

The Lockheed Martin-backed company recently unveiled its latest creation, dubbed Rutherford, which is said to be the first-ever battery-powered rocket engine. The design, which is comprised almost entirely out of 3D-printed parts and powered by batteries rather than liquid fuel, will be used on Rocket Lab’s Electron orbital launch vehicle later this year.

Powered by the brand new Rutherford motor, Electron will be able to deliver small satellites to commercial orbits at a much lower price and a greater frequency. The flagship engine adopts a new electric propulsion cycle that employs electric motors to drive its turbopumps, and is the first…

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Startup creates the first 3D-printed, battery-powered rocket engine

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