Pull to refresh
159.83
Rating
Top 3D Shop
Digital manufacturing experts

Porsche Invested in an Aerospace Startup That 3D Prints Rockets

Top 3D Shop corporate blog 3D printers

Porsche invested money in a German startup called Isar Aerospace that is working on a lightweight launch vehicle with 3D printed parts, including key components of power plants. The initial launch is planned for 2022.

Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами
Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами

German journalists are happy to call the startup a SpaceX competitor but Isar Aerospace is currently focused on a different aerospace market segment: launching relatively small satellites using extremely inexpensive lightweight launch vehicles. The main competitor in this niche is an American-New Zealand company named Rocket Lab that has been successfully launching commercial cargo since 2018 (with the first partially successful launch dating in 2017). The company also uses 3D printed engines. The Electron rocket by Rocket Lab can launch up to 450 lbs (200 kg) to a Sun-synchronous orbit. The Spectrum launch vehicle by Isar Aerospace will be more powerful and could deliver up to 1,550 lbs (700 kg) of cargo to the same heights. Or up to around 2,200 lbs (1,000 kg) to a Low Earth Orbit compared to 660 lbs (300 kg) for Electron. It would not be enough to launch a car into space like SpaceX once did but will certainly be acceptable for commercial and research satellites.

Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами
Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами

The first stage of the 88 feet tall (27 meters tall) launch vehicle will use nine Aquilla SL engines, while the second will utilize only one Aquilla VAC engine. The company is planning to manufacture up to 80% of the components in-house with the help of additive technologies with huge emphasis on metal 3D printing. The startup is using laser powder 3D printers by Electro-Optical Systems (EOS GmbH). The devices are used for production of the combustion chambers and nozzles. 

Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами
Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами

Isar Aerospace already got more than $180 million of funds. Apart from Porsche, the investors include the venture department of Airbus and Bulent Altan — a former SpaceX engineer that led the team of the avionics engineers for Falcon rockets and Dragon spacecraft. Moreover, the startup is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and German Aerospace Center after winning in the Boost! competition that was aimed to improve the state of private astronautics in Europe. 

Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами
Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами

Isar Aerospace is based in Munich and is planning to use Andøya Rocket Range in Norway for launches. It might be located too far away in the North but that is a good thing for launching to a polar or near polar orbits. The funds will partially go to research the possibility of reusing rockets. Reusable launch systems are the current trend: the technology is actively implemented by Blue Origin, SpaceX and aforementioned Rocket Lab. The costs of a launch are not yet mentioned. For example, the cost of launching one Electron vehicle is around $7.5 dollars.

Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами
Porsche вложилась в космический стартап с 3D-печатными ракетами

“As an investor with a focus on mobility and industrial technology, we are convinced that cost-efficient and flexible access to space will be an enabler of innovation in many industry sectors. With Isar Aerospace, we are investing in a company that is well positioned to establish itself as a leading European manufacturer of launch vehicles.” commented Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman at the Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

This is an exciting development as in the past companies have viewed additive technologies as primarily a tool for digital designs and testing. For example, in 2019 Raise3D covered the story of how Boeing could use additive technologies for research and testing. Indeed, simulation of the aerospace components can be tested and refined in a matter of minutes, and the Raise3D Pro2 is able to take these digital designs and print them into physical items. But as investments into metal 3D printing grow, we expect to see more stories covering industrial applications of additive manufacturing.

Tags:
Hubs:
Total votes 3: ↑3 and ↓0 +3
Views 430
Comments Leave a comment

Information

Founded
Location
США
Website
top3dshop.com
Employees
51–100 employees
Registered
Representative