The parts will be incorporated in the Prometheus re-usable rocket engine demonstrator.
GKN Aerospace has been contracted by ArianeGroup to develop and manufacture two full-scale turbines for the Prometheus low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator. These will be the first additively manufactured (AM) rocket engine turbines in Europe. The first turbine is scheduled to be delivered at the end of 2019.
Running on liquid oxygen (LOx) and methane, Prometheus is designed to cut engine production costs by a factor of 10 compared with Ariane 5’s Vulcain 2. Prometheus is an ESA-funded programme with ArianeGroup as prime contractor.
Prometheus provides a nominal 1 MN of variable thrust, is suitable for first- and second-stage applications, and is reignitable. It will propel a range of next-generation launchers, including future evolutions of Ariane 6.
The turbines supplied by GKN Aerospace will incorporate the latest AM technologies, which are expected to boost performance, reduce lead times and cut the parts count from more than 100 to 2.
According to GKN, the development will support the next step in AM: the use of this technology for future higher-loaded critical components in terms of pressure, temperature and rotational speed.