Prometheus - An ESA LOX/LCH4 Reusable Rocket Engine

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
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TECH BREAKTHROUGHS (like 3D printing) MAKE NEW PROMETHEUS ROCKET ENGINE TEN TIMES CHEAPER
28 Jun 2017


The 3D printed GKN Ariane 6 nozzle:

gkn-delivers-revolutionary-ariane-6-nozzle-to-airbus-safran-launchers-866x1024.jpg


ESA's Prometheus to usher in cheaper, reusable next-gen rocket engines
4 Jun 2020


Prometheus is an ultra-low cost reusable rocket engine demonstrator that uses liquid oxygen–methane propellants and will power Europe’s future launchers:


Prometheus (rocket engine)


The Prometheus rocket engine is an ongoing European Space Agency (ESA) development effort begun in 2017 to create a reusable methane-fueled rocket engine for use on the Thémis reusable rocket demonstrator and "Ariane next", the successor to Ariane 6, and possibly a version of Ariane 6 itself.[1]

Prometheus is a backronym standing for "Precursor Reusable Oxygen METHan cost Effective propUlsion System", and for the Titan Prometheus, from Greek mythology, creator of humanity, and god of fire, known for giving fire to humanity in defiance of the gods.

By 2020, the development program was funded, and is being developed for the ESA by Ariane Group.[2]

The engine is aimed to be reusable with substantially lower costs than traditional engines manufactured in Europe[by whom?]. The cost goal is to manufacture the Prometheus engine at one-tenth the cost of the Ariane 5's first-stage engine.

The engine is planned to have the following features:

Methane–oxygen propellant.
Extensive use of metal 3D printing (up to 50% of the engine).[2]
Open gas-generator cycle.[4]
980 kN of thrust (~100 tonnes), variable from 30% to 110% thrust.[5]
100 bar (10,000 kPa) chamber pressure.[5][full citation needed]
360 s specific impulse (ISP).[citation needed]
Reusable 3 to 5 times.[citation needed]
Around 1 million euros production cost.[5]


PROMETHEUS, A LOX/LCH4 REUSABLE ROCKET ENGINE

 
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