Smallspark Space Systems, working with the Westcott Business Incubation Centre, has been awarded funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to develop a prototype of its next-generation rocket engine.
Smallspark Space Systems is looking to reignite UK space through the development of low-cost, rapid to manufacture rocket engines that can be developed with the manufacturing capabilities already present within Wales, and the UK as a whole. The engines and fuels we are developing are designed to simplify storage and transportation, and the goal of this engine will primarily be to push our propellants to their performance limits, allowing us to understand their chemical behaviour under extreme conditions.
To develop this prototype engine, named the Westcott Drive, we have partnered with Swansea University’s world-leading Department of Aerospace Engineering for collaborative research and manufacturing, which is expected to begin in mid-June, with test firings before August. Smallspark’s CEO, Joseph Ward said:
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has presented a series of unique challenges that make developing already complex engines that much more complex. This acts as a perfect demonstration of not only Smallspark’s resilience to external influence, but also is a testimony to our forward-thinking engine design that allows us to continue its development even in these exceptional circumstances.
The Westcott Drive is the first of two engines currently under development by Smallspark Space Systems; the other being SIBYL v1, designed to test a number of new manufacturing techniques and approaches to really push the capabilities of the engine to the limit. SIBYL v1 is the expected to be the first of many that we push to (and hopefully beyond) their limit over the next 12 months.