Latitude rocket engine comes alive
Latitude rocket engine comes alive
© Latitude

Latitude rocket engine comes alive

The Reims-based startup has completed its first test firing campaign of its Navier rocket engine, which is entirely made in 3D printing.

Key step

On Jan. 26 Latitude (exVenture Orbital Systems, founded in 2019), the Reims-based startup developing the two-stage microlancer Zéphyr, announced that it had completed its first bench firing campaign of the first version of its Navier engine.

Testing had begun last October at the new SaxaVord launch base in the Shetland Islands, one of the sites being considered by Latitude for operation of its microlauncher.

And, on Jan. 4, the engine was fired three times successfully : for 5, 10 and 35 seconds.

" These tests mark, with tangible proof, our real entry into the game of the new global launchers ", rejoices Stanislas Maximin, Latitude's president and founder.


Focus on 2024

The Navier Mark 1 engine, which had benefited in 2020 from an R&D contract with the Cnes, is 100 % made in 3D printing, with the help of Saturne Technology, a Luxembourg laser cutting specialist.

It runs on RP-1 and liquid oxygen, is relightable and reusable.

Zephyr, which is 17 meters tall, will have nine Navier engines on its first stage, and a tenth on the upper stage.

The launcher is designed to place nanosatellites weighing less than 100 kg into low sun-synchronous orbit.

Its first flight is announced for late 2024, and the goal is to fly 50 missions per year, offering " an affordable, cost-effective, all-in-one customizable service from factory to space "


France 2030 help and selection for French Guiana

For the record, Latitude was selected last October as part of the France 2030 call for projects operated on behalf of the state by the BPI and the Cnes.

It had obtained a 65 M€ aid for the development of the second version of the Navier engine.

Previously, at the end of August, the startup had been selected in the short list of the seven future operators of micro and mini launchers likely to be hosted on the Guyana Space Center.

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