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Micro launchers are an alternative to conventional booster rockets: they can carry payloads of up to 350 kg and in future should be able to put small satellites into space. The Aersopike engine from Dresden is designed to provide particularly efficient transport of the microlauncher into space, as it lowers the overall weight of the system. “In space travel, every gram saved is worth its weight in gold, as you have to carry less fuel in orbit,” explains Mirko Riede from Fraunhofer IWS . In addition, the Aerospike jet engine adapts particularly well to the changing pressure conditions on its way from earth into orbit, which makes it more efficient: according to the developers, an initial prototype uses around 30% less fuel than conventional engines. “The technological idea behind the Aerospike engines was first devised in the 1960s. But only with the freedoms of additive manufacturing and their integration into conventional process chains has it become possible for us to manufacture the engines efficiently,” says Michael Müller from the Additive Manufacturing Center Dresden (AMCD), which is run jointly by Fraunhofer IWS and TU Dresden .

The engine from Dresden will be presented at the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE.