Smallspark Space Systems has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to access funding for a major project that will allow the company to leverage advances in additive manufacturing to improve the performance of its rocket engines. Smallspark is currently the only UK company to have received two rounds of funding from SPRINT, a major validator for their technologies.
The project will allow Smallspark to work with its new development partner, The University of Bath, to develop new types of lightweight structural lattices for its engines, that will allow the company to improve the performance of its engines. This is an essential step towards getting the company’s designs up to a sufficient TRL (technology readiness level) to begin test flights towards the end of 2021.
Matt Jaffa, Smallspark Engineer and project lead had this to say:
This project allows us to identify a solution to an issue that has been historically plaguing our rocket architecture. Whilst it originated as an idea that we played around with on the 3D printer in the office, after a bit of research and evaluation of the prints, it soon became clear that there is a lot of potential in our proposed solution.
Working with Bath University allows us to tap into a wealth of knowledge in manufacturing and testing whilst also utilising their fantastic facilities. We’re incredibly excited to begin this collaboration and have another project funded by SPRINT.
Joseph Ward, Smallspark’s CEO said:
As usual, the Smallspark team have absolutely outdone themselves again in becoming the only company in the UK to receive two rounds of funding from the SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology fund. If that’s not a pointer that we’re going in the right direction, I don’t know what is!
This additional £50,000 is going to let us develop some seriously cool technology and drive economic growth. The University of Bath is a world leader in Mechanical Engineering and additive manufacturing technologies, and we’re honoured to be working with them.
Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme said:
“We launched the SPRINT 2020 Open Competition to enable UK SMEs to access a wider university knowledge-base through SPRINT. It’s great to see Smallspark Space Systems eager to continue their growth journey, supported by university collaborations, with the University of Southampton and now, with the University of Bath. I look forward to following the company’s progress as they develop their innovative access to space solutions.”
Smallspark is aiming to begin test flights of its Frost Micro sounding rocket by the end of 2021, with its first commercial flight targeted for early 2022.