POLARIS Raumflugzeuge develops a series of aerospike rocket engines

Source: POLARIS Raumflugzeuge, Defence Industry Europe

German company POLARIS Raumflugzeuge develops a series of linear aerospike rocket engines to power spaceplanes as well as scaled demonstrators. Aerospike engines promise significant efficiency increases compared to conventional rocket engines.

 

Ground testing of POLARIS’ first LOX/kerosene linear aerospike has started in November 2023. Flight testing is to follow soon. The flight demonstrator MIRA is to become the first aerospace vehicle ever to operate a linear aerospike rocket engine in flight, the company said.

Parts of POLARIS’ aerospike activities are conducted under Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) study contracts.

 

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MIRA is a dedicated validation vehicle for in flight-demonstration and testing of linear aerospike rocket engines. Linear aerospikes form a novel class or rocket engines that offer large performance increases compared to conventional rocket engines. Flight-testing including engine in-flight ignition and operation will be conducted under a Bundeswehr/BAAINBw study contract awarded in April 2023. The first flight under turbine power was successfully conducted on 26th of October, 2023 at Peenemünde Airport. Flights under rocket-power will follow soon. Similar to ATHENA, MIRA is licensed for BVLOS operation with a telemetry range of 20 km. MIRA is also equipped with a redundant flight termination system (FTS). MIRA is the largest and most complex vehicle built and flown by POLARIS so far. The total development time from begin of vehicle design from scratch until first flight was just six and a half months.

 

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