Home Research & Education LEAP 71 presents fully autonomously designed and 3D-printed liquid rocket motor

LEAP 71 presents fully autonomously designed and 3D-printed liquid rocket motor

Dubai-based engineering service provider LEAP 71 recently announced the successful testing of a fully autonomously designed and 3D-printed liquid rocket motor. This was designed without human intervention by the company’s proprietary model “Noyron”. The combustion chamber of the rocket engine was manufactured in copper and the engine was successfully tested on a rocket test stand in the UK.

The engine, which generates a thrust of 5 kN (500 kg / 1124 lbf) and achieves an output of 20,000 hp, successfully passed all tests, including a long-term combustion test.

The engine produced uses cryogenic liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene as propellants. The copper combustion chamber is regeneratively cooled and the injection head uses modern coaxial vortex mixers for propellant supply.

Josefine Lissner, Aerospace engineer, and Managing Director of LEAP 71 said: “This is an important milestone for us, but also for the entire industry. We can now automatically create functional rocket thrusters and directly move to practical validation. From final specification to manufacturing, the design of this engine took less than 2 weeks. In traditional engineering, this would be a task of many months, or even years. Each new engine iteration takes only minutes. Innovation in space propulsion is hard, and costly. With our approach, we hope to make space more accessible for everyone.”

LEAP 71 worked with the leading German metal 3D printing company AMCM to produce the engine. After production, the engine was post-processed at the University of Sheffield and prepared for testing. The hot fire test was carried out at Airborne Engineering Ltd. in Wescott, UK.

Lin Kayser, co-founder of LEAP 71 said: “Our company is at the forefront of the new field of Computational Engineering, where sophisticated machines can be designed without manual work. The paradigm significantly accelerates the pace of innovation for real-world objects. The fact that the Noyron thruster operated nominally on the first try, confirms that the approach is working. The method can be applied to any field of engineering.”

LEAP 71 plans to use the data from the test to further improve Noyron. The company is working with leading aerospace companies in the US, Europe and Asia to commercialize the resulting rocket engines. The use of AI in the design process and 3D printing is revolutionizing the development and manufacturing of rocket engines and could fundamentally change the aerospace industry.

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