The 'new space' industry is booming. Along with new shuttle launches and developments of lunar habitats, there are also many new space and satellite applications being discovered and developed.
At the moment, satellite applications are still struggling to to get into orbit in the right spot at the right time. Rocket companies have built rockets to get them to space, but to show decent payload and cost performance is still a challenge.
NextAero, is a startup from Melbourne, Australia who are developing 3D-printed aerospike engines. Their focus is on building propulsion systems for small satellite launch vehicles.
The aerospike engine has higher theoretical performance compared to the bell nozzle but major design and manufacturing challenges exist. These challenges present a major risk to launch companies who have avoided developing them due to excess risk in their typical vertically integrated supply chain structure. (To learn more about the aerospike engine and how NextAero fits into the picture, check out this article: https://www.createdigital.org.au/the-aerospike-was-an-experimental-rocket-back-in-the-50s-now-it-might-be-a-reality/)
NextAero is developing the aerospike engine niche to be an engine manufacturer for the launch market, similar to how Rolls Royce is a jet engine manufacturer for the airline market. NextAero uses additive manufacturing to build intricate engine designs that would otherwise be impossible to manufacture traditionally. The engine is filled with curves, subsurface channels, and ports to keep it cool while also maintaining its high efficiency. They are one of the only modern companies in the world with experimental combustion data on the aerospike. Check out this video of one of their engine tests:
INAM was introduced to NextAero during the 2018 AdMaCom program where they were one of the finalists. Every update we receive from this team since then has been exciting and in some ways… explosive!
Currently, NextAero is interested to engage with European space companies and organisations.
If you are interested in working with this innovative team, go to their website at https://nextaero.com.au/ and make sure to reach out to them there.