Sierra Nevada’s New VORTEX Upper Stage Engine Closer to Reality

VORTEX engine test (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., October 11, 2018 (SNC PR) – With its patented VORTEX™ engine technology, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is one step closer to testing a brand new version of its low-cost, high-performance upper stage rocket engine. The VR35K-A, developed in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is a commercialized version of the VORTEX engine system. The team will provide a fully integrated engine, leveraging technologies initially developed under Small Business Innovation Research programs.

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Aerojet, FTT Form Partnership to Compete for NASA’s New Engine

AEROJET PRESS RELEASE

Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, and Florida Turbine Technologies (FTT) announced today that the companies have entered into a strategic partnership to compete for research, development and production on NASA’s new hydrocarbon engine and advanced upper stage engine. This expands the very successful teamwork that Aerojet and FTT have underway on the U.S. Air Force Hydrocarbon Boost Technology Demonstrator (HBTD) and Upper Stage Engine Technology (USET) programs.

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India Prepares to Launch GSLV With New Cryo Engine Amid Controversy

GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)
GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)

A bit more on India’s planned April 15 test of an indigenous cryogenic upper stage, which is proceeding along with some controversy:

Later this month, if the Indian space agency’s attempt to launch its largest rocket, the GSLV-D3 with an indigenous cryogenic engine succeeds, then India will join the elite club of five nations in the world to have successfully developed such technology.

For the country’s rocket scientists, the yet-to-be-achieved breakthrough is significant on two fronts–one, they will achieve self reliance and confidence in space technology. Two, India will emerge as a serious player in the $4 billion global satellite launch market.

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British Firm Developing Ion Engines for Space Missions

BBC News has an interesting story about Qinetiq, a British company that is developed advanced ion engines for use in future space missions.

Ion engines have great promise for future space missions, but their development is still in its infancy. Qinetig’s T5 ion engine will fly for the first time on ESA’s Goce spacecraft, which will map variations in the Earth’s gravity field.